Book Chapter

Mössbauer Spectroscopy at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum: Iron Mineralogy, Oxidation State, and Alteration on Mars


Morris RV, Schröder C, Klingelhöfer G & Agresti DG (2019) Mössbauer Spectroscopy at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum: Iron Mineralogy, Oxidation State, and Alteration on Mars. In: Bishop JL, Bell JF & Moersch JE (eds.) Remote Compositional Analysis: Techniques for Understanding Spectroscopy, Mineralogy, and Geochemistry of Planetary Surfaces. Cambridge Planetary Science, 24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 538-554.;

Mössbauer instruments were included on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission to determine the mineralogical composition, diversity, and oxidation state of Fe-bearing igneous materials and alteration products. A total of 16 Fe-bearing phases (mutually consistent with bulk-sample chemistry) were identified, including Fe associated with the rock-forming minerals olivine, pyroxene, magnetite, ilmenite, and chromite and alteration products including Fe3+-bearing oxyhydroxides (nanophase ferric oxide, hematite, and goethite) and sulfates (jarosite and an unassigned Fe3+ sulfate phase), and Fe2+ carbonate. Igneous rock types ranged from olivine-pyroxene and olivine-pyroxene-magnetite basalts to ultramafic rocks at Gusev Crater. Jarosite-hematite bedrock was pervasive at Meridiani Planum, and concretions winnowed from the outcrop were mineralogically hematite. Because their structures contain hydroxyl, goethite and jarosite provide mineralogical evidence for aqueous processes on Mars, and jarosite and Fe3+-sulfate are evidence for acid-sulfate processes at both Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum. A population of rocks on the Meridiani Planum outcrop was identified as iron and stony meteorites by the presence of Fe metal (kamacite) and the sulfide troilite. The MER mission demonstrates that Mössbauer spectrometers landed on any Fe-bearing planetary surface provide first-order information on igneous provinces, alteration state, and alteration style and provide well-constrained criteria for sample selection on planetary sample-return missions including planets, moons, and asteroids.

FundersScience & Technology Facilities Council
Title of seriesCambridge Planetary Science
Number in series24
Publication date30/09/2019
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publisher URL…rfaces?format=HB
Place of publicationCambridge