The conglomerates of Mars

Non classé

The observations of the Curiosity rover, using the instruments MastCam and ChemCam, made in the Gale Crater reveal isolated outcrops with blunt pebbles and grains of sand consolidated in sedimentary rocks called conglomerates, characteristics of streamflows. ChemCam indicates the composition of some pebbles (predominantly made of feldspar) and a low deterioration of the whole. The size of the pebbles requires flow velocities of the order of 0.2-0.75 m / s over several kilometers which implies a substantially different climate from the current cold and dry climate in the distant past.

A: Close up of a conglomerate Martian named Link obtained by the ChemCam instrument whose imager is coupled to the laser. Color was obtained by superimposing a MastCam color image. The rectangle in the center indicates the enlarged area B on which dotted arrows indicate the laser areas (not shown in picture). Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / LANL / CNES / IRAP / LPGNantes / CNRS / IAS / MSSS

This study is published in the journal Science on May 31, 2013 by a French international team including researchers from Toulouse, Nantes and Lyon:

Martian Fluvial Conglomerates at Gale Crater.  R. M. E. Williams1*, J. P. Grotzinger2, W. E. Dietrich3, S. Gupta4, D. Y. Sumner5, R. C. Wiens6, N. Mangold7, M. C. Malin8, K. S. Edgett8, S. Maurice9, O. Forni9, O. Gasnault9, A. Ollila10, H. E. Newsom10, G. Dromart11, M. C. Palucis3, R. A. Yingst1, R. B. Anderson12, K. E. Herkenhoff12, S. Le Mouélic7, W. Goetz13, M. B. Madsen14, A. Koefoed14, J. K. Jensen14, J. C. Bridges15, S. P. Schwenzer16, K. W. Lewis17, K. M. Stack2, D. Rubin18, a, L. C. Kah19, J. F. Bell III20, J. D. Farmer20, R. Sullivan21, T. Van Beek8, D. L. Blaney22, O. Pariser22, R. G. Deen22, and the MSL Science Team avec :

7 : Laboratoire de planétologie et géodynamique de Nantes (LPGN – Univ de Nantes, CNRS, Univ Angers)

9 : Institut de recherche en astrophysique et planétologie (IRAP – CNRS, Univ Tououse 3)

11 : Laboratoire de géologie de Lyon, Terre, Planète, Environnement (TPE – CNRS, Univ Lyon 1, ENS lyon)

Contact IRAP

  • Sylvestre Maurice, IRAP (CNRS/Université Paul Sabatier-Toulouse III), 05 61 55 75 50



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