Meteorites on Mars observed with the Mars Exploration Rovers


Schröder C, Rodionov DS, McCoy TJ, Jolliff BL, Gellert R, Nittler LR, Farrand WH, Johnson JR, Ruff SW, Ashley JW, Mittlefehldt DW, Herkenhoff KE, Fleischer I, Haldemann AFC & Klingelhoefer G (2008) Meteorites on Mars observed with the Mars Exploration Rovers. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 113 (E6), Art. No.: E06S22.

Reduced weathering rates due to the lack of liquid water and significantly greater typical surface ages should result in a higher density of meteorites on the surface of Mars compared to Earth. Several meteorites were identified among the rocks investigated during Opportunity’s traverse across the sandy Meridiani plains. Heat Shield Rock is a IAB iron meteorite and has been officially recognized as ‘‘Meridiani Planum.’’ Barberton is olivine-rich and contains metallic Fe in the form of kamacite, suggesting a meteoritic origin. It is chemically most consistent with a mesosiderite silicate clast. Santa Catarina is a brecciated rock with a chemical and mineralogical composition similar to Barberton. Barberton, Santa Catarina, and cobbles adjacent to Santa Catarina may be part of a strewn field. Spirit observed two probable iron meteorites from its Winter Haven location in the Columbia Hills in Gusev Crater. Chondrites have not been identified to date, which may be a result of their lower strengths and probability to survive impact at current atmospheric pressures. Impact craters directly associated with Heat Shield Rock, Barberton, or Santa Catarina have not been observed, but such craters could have been erased by eolian-driven erosion.

Mars Exploration Rover; meteorite accumulation on Mars; impact cratering

Additional co-authors: DW Ming, RV Morris, PA de Souza Jr, SW Squyres, C Weitz, AS Yen, J Zipfel, T Economou

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets: Volume 113, Issue E6

Publication date30/06/2008
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union