Nickel on Mars: Constraints on meteoritic material at the surface


Yen AS, Mittlefehldt DW, McLennan SM, Gellert R, Bell III JF, McSween HY, Ming DW, McCoy TJ, Morris RV, Golombek M, Economou TET, Madsen MB, Wdowiak TJ, Clark BC, Jolliff BL, Schröder C, Brueckner J, Zipfel J & Squyres SW (2006) Nickel on Mars: Constraints on meteoritic material at the surface. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 111 (E12), Art. No.: E12S11.

Impact craters and the discovery of meteorites on Mars indicate clearly that there is meteoritic material at the Martian surface. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometers (APXS) on board the Mars Exploration Rovers measure the elemental chemistry of Martian samples, enabling an assessment of the magnitude of the meteoritic contribution. Nickel, an element that is greatly enhanced in meteoritic material relative to samples of the Martian crust, is directly detected by the APXS and is observed to be geochemically mobile at the Martian surface. Correlations between nickel and other measured elements are used to constrain the quantity of meteoritic material present in Martian soil and sedimentary rock samples. Results indicate that analyzed soils samples and certain sedimentary rocks contain an average of 1% to 3% contamination from meteoritic debris.

Mars; Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer; meteoritic contribution; nickel

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets: Volume 111, Issue E12

Publication date15/12/2006
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union