After climbing a mountain on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover found two-toned mineral ranges, hinting of what fluid movement must have been like in the past. Believed to occur after wet environmental conditions, this fluid movement formed deposits in a lake bed which the rover had previously examined at the mountain base.
Rock samples were scrutinized from three different areas on the lower part of the mountain and the results reveal that each contains different mineral structures. The differences in mineral content, together with the discovery of bulbous veins uphill, illustrate that Mount Sharp’s layers offer chronicles of the various stages the environment in the area went through.
Discovered in a site called “Garden City,” the two-tone mineral veins look like a ridge network left behind after bedrock erosion. The ridges measure up to 2.5 inches in height and half of that in width, with details of light and dark material.
Member of the Curiosity team from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Linda Kah, equated the ridges to ice cream sandwiches, white in the center and dark on the borders.
She said,”these materials tell us about secondary fluids that were transported through the region after the host rock formed”.
Those found in Garden City, from when fluids pass through cracked rocks, depositing minerals in the fractures and consequently altering the chemistry of the rock around the fractures.
Researchers have so far know that mud in the area the rover landed dried and hardened before the formation of fractures. Dark material lining fracture suggest to an earlier fluid flow compared to the white veins, while both represent events occurring after the formation of the cracks.
located around 39 feet above the “Pahrump Hills” bottom edge, Garden City forme the bedrock protrusion involving Mount Sharp’s basal coating at the center of the Gale Crater. The Curiosity rover has spent six months assessment of the first 33 feet of Pahrump Hills’ elevation, going from the lower edge to the area’s higher portions three times to profile rock chemistry and structures vertically, allowing the rover’s team to pinpoint the best spots for drilling for added examination. Samples drilled came from “Confidence Hills,” “Mojave” and “Telegraph Peak.”