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GRS evidence and the possibility of paleooceans on Mars

Authors
Journal
Planetary and Space Science
0032-0633
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
57
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2008.10.008
Keywords
  • Mars
  • Gamma-Ray Spectrometer
  • Oceans
  • Water
  • Elemental
  • Hydrogeology
Disciplines
  • Earth Science

Abstract

Abstract The Gamma Ray Spectrometer (Mars Odyssey spacecraft) has revealed elemental distributions of potassium (K), thorium (Th), and iron (Fe) on Mars that require fractionation of K (and possibly Th and Fe) consistent with aqueous activity. This includes weathering, evolution of soils, and transport, sorting, and deposition, as well as with the location of first-order geomorphological demarcations identified as possible paleoocean boundaries. The element abundances occur in patterns consistent with weathering in situ and possible presence of relict or exhumed paleosols, deposition of weathered materials (salts and clastic minerals), and weathering/transport under neutral to acidic brines. The abundances are explained by hydrogeology consistent with the possibly overlapping alternatives of paleooceans and/or heterogeneous rock compositions from diverse provenances (e.g., differing igneous compositions).

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