Paper No. 21-11
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM
MECHANISMS FOR OLIVINE CARBONATION AT THE NILI FOSSAE/ISIDIS BASIN BOUNDARY, MARS: EVIDENCE FOR INTENSE SURFACE AQUEOUS ACTIVITY OR LOW TEMPERATURE SURFACE ALTERATION
One of the most extensive surface deposits of carbonate on Mars is on the slopes of the Isidis Basin rising up to the Nili Fossae region (Ehlmann et al., 2008; Niles et al., 2012; Edwards and Ehlmann 2015). A key factor for the formation of carbonate in this region is the association of carbonate with olivine: this ubiquitous relationship shows the reactants and products are in direct association. There are four clear hypotheses for the geologic environment of formation. 1) Water-rock interaction in the shallow subsurface at slightly elevated temperatures altered olivine to Mg-carbonate perhaps through extended periods of heat and water with burial leading to olivine-serpentine-talc-chlorite alteration pathway (Brown et al., 2010; Viviano et al., 2013). 2) Olivine-rich material, heated by impact or volcanic processes, emplaced on top of a water-bearing phyllosilicate rich unit initiated hydrothermal alteration along the contact. 3) Olivine-rich rocks were weathered to carbonate at surface (cold) temperatures in a manner similar to olivine weathering of meteorites in Antarctica. 4) Carbonate precipitated from shallow ephemeral lakes. These hypotheses are quite different in their predictions of mineral assemblage, water requirements, and habitability. I will show new data and analyses that provide insights to the question of the mineralogy and assemblages of carbonate-bearing units in the region, diagostic of processes. It is becoming more evident that surface aqueous activity, perhaps involving an extensive cryosphere in the form of Hesperian ice sheets.