Characteristics of pebble and cobble-sized clasts along the Curiosity rover traverse from Bradbury Landing to Rocknest

Research areas:
Year:
2013
Authors:
  • R. A. Yingst
  • L. C. Kah
  • M. Palucis
  • R. M. E. Williams
  • J. Garvin
  • J. C. Bridges
  • N. Bridges
  • R. G. Deen
  • J. Farmer
  • O. Gasnault
  • W. Goetz
  • V. E. Hamilton
  • V. Hipkin
  • J. K. Jensen
  • P. L. King
  • A. Koefoed
  • Stéphane Le Mouélic
  • M. B. Madsen
  • Nicolas Mangold
  • J. Martinez-Frias
  • S. Maurice
  • E. M. McCartney
  • H. Newsom
  • O. Pariser
  • V. H. Sautter
  • R. C. Wiens
Journal:
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-PLANETS
Volume:
118
Number:
11
Pages:
2361-2380
Month:
November
ISSN:
2169-9097
Abstract:
We have assessed the characteristics of clasts along Curiosity's
traverse to shed light on the processes important in the genesis,
modification, and transportation of surface materials. Pebble- to
cobble-sized clasts at Bradbury Landing, and subsequently along
Curiosity's traverse to Yellowknife Bay, reflect a mixing of two
end-member transport mechanisms. The general clast population likely
represents material deposited via impact processes, including meteorite
fragments, ejecta from distant craters, and impactites consisting of
shocked and shock-melted materials from within Gale Crater, which
resulted predominantly in larger, angular clasts. A subset of rounded
pebble-sized clasts has likely been modified by intermittent alluvial or
fluvial processes. The morphology of this rounded clast population
indicates that water was a more important transporting agent here than
at other Mars sites that have been studied in situ. Finally, we
identified populations of basalt clasts and porphyritic clasts of
undetermined composition by their morphologic and textural
characteristics; basalts are confirmed by geochemical data provided by
ChemCam.