Alteration history of Séítah formation rocks inferred by PIXL x-ray fluorescence, x-ray diffraction, and multispectral imaging on Mars

Michael M. Tice*, Joel A. Hurowitz, Abigail C. Allwood, Michael W.M. Jones, Brendan J. Orenstein, Scott Davidoff, Austin P. Wright, David A.K. Pedersen, Jesper Henneke, Nicholas J. Tosca, Kelsey R. Moore, Benton C. Clark, Scott M. McLennan, David T. Flannery, Andrew Steele, Adrian J. Brown, Maria Paz Zorzano, Keyron Hickman-Lewis, Yang Liu, Scott J. VanBommelMariek E. Schmidt, Tanya V. Kizovski, Allan H. Treiman, Lauren O'Neil, Alberto G. Fairén, David L. Shuster, Sanjeev Gupta

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Collocated crystal sizes and mineral identities are critical for interpreting textural relationships in rocks and testing geological hypotheses, but it has been previously impossible to unambiguously constrain these properties using in situ instruments on Mars rovers. Here, we demonstrate that diffracted and fluoresced x-rays detected by the PIXL instrument (an x-ray fluorescence microscope on the Perseverance rover) provide information about the presence or absence of coherent crystalline domains in various minerals. X-ray analysis and multispectral imaging of rocks from the Séítah formation on the floor of Jezero crater shows that they were emplaced as coarsely crystalline igneous phases. Olivine grains were then partially dissolved and filled by finely crystalline or amorphous secondary silicate, carbonate, sulfate, and chloride/oxychlorine minerals. These results support the hypothesis that Séítah formation rocks represent olivine cumulates altered by fluids far from chemical equilibrium at low water-rock ratios.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabp9084
JournalScience Advances
Volume8
Issue number47
Number of pages16
ISSN2375-2548
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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