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Hydrated minerals in Chryse Planitia
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Hydrated minerals in Chryse Planitia

Acquired Date: February 12, 2007
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Latitude: 24.69 N
Longitude: 339.11 E
Keywords: Plains, Hydrated Mineral, Phyllosilicate minerals, Sulfate minerals, Dichotomy Boundary
Parameters: BD2100_2 (Monohydrated sulfates), BD2165 (Kaolinite-group), BD2190 (Beidellite/Allophane/Imogolite)

The Chryse Planitia is a smooth circular plain that has a diameter of 1600 km, and has a depth of 2.5 km below its average surface altitude, making it one of Mars’s lowest regions. Chryse Planitia was a landing site for the U.S Viking 1 (landed July 20, 1976), and the Mars Pathfinder (landed July 4, 1997). It is theorized that Chryse was once the site of a large body of water; many of the large outflow channels and ancient river valleys in the southern highlands, such as Mawrth Vallis, end at Chryse. These valley systems are thought to be evidence of past water erosion, suggesting that the water they carried flowed into Chryse.



The Chryse Planitia is a smooth circular plain that has a diameter of 1600 km, and has a depth of 2.5 km below its average surface altitude, making it one of Mars’s lowest regions. Chryse Planitia was a landing site for the U.S Viking 1 (landed July 20, 1976), and the Mars Pathfinder (landed July 4, 1997). It is theorized that Chryse was once the site of a large body of water; many of the large outflow channels and ancient river valleys in the southern highlands, such as Mawrth Vallis, end at Chryse. These valley systems are thought to be evidence of past water erosion, suggesting that the water they carried flowed into Chryse.

This image is of the boundary of Chryse Planita, just north of Oyama crater and to the west of Mawrth Vallis. Iron-magnesium phyllosilicates (black), aluminum phyllosilicates (red/yellow), kaolinite (white) and alunite (cyan), a type of sulfate, are all detected. Phyllosilicates are clay and clay-like minerals formed during interaction between rock and liquid water. On Mars, iron-magnesium phyllosilicate is formed by reaction of igneous basaltic rocks with water, and is common in the southern highlands. The formation of aluminum phyllosilicates, however, implies a more sustained interaction and/or the involvement of a heat source. On Earth, alunite forms when volcanic rocks are exposed to acidic fluids; its presence in this area of Mars suggests a history of Al-rich, acidic, saline waters in the Planitia. Meanwhile, the presence of kaolinite in this area suggests that the climate here was once less dry and cold.

The Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) is one of six science instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Led by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the CRISM team includes expertise from universities, government agencies and small businesses in the United States and abroad.

CRISM's mission: Find the spectral fingerprints of aqueous and hydrothermal deposits and map the geology, composition and stratigraphy of surface features. The instrument also tracks seasonal variations in dust and ice aerosols in the Martian atmosphere, and water content in surface materials — leading to new understanding of the climate.

Credit: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL

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