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Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars.

  • Author(s): Grotzinger, JP
  • Gupta, S
  • Malin, MC
  • Rubin, DM
  • Schieber, J
  • Siebach, K
  • Sumner, DY
  • Stack, KM
  • Vasavada, AR
  • Arvidson, RE
  • Calef, F
  • Edgar, L
  • Fischer, WF
  • Grant, JA
  • Griffes, J
  • Kah, LC
  • Lamb, MP
  • Lewis, KW
  • Mangold, N
  • Minitti, ME
  • Palucis, M
  • Rice, M
  • Williams, RME
  • Yingst, RA
  • Blake, D
  • Blaney, D
  • Conrad, P
  • Crisp, J
  • Dietrich, WE
  • Dromart, G
  • Edgett, KS
  • Ewing, RC
  • Gellert, R
  • Hurowitz, JA
  • Kocurek, G
  • Mahaffy, P
  • McBride, MJ
  • McLennan, SM
  • Mischna, M
  • Ming, D
  • Milliken, R
  • Newsom, H
  • Oehler, D
  • Parker, TJ
  • Vaniman, D
  • Wiens, RC
  • Wilson, SA
  • et al.
Abstract

The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp).

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