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Sulfates in the chaos terrain of Javentae Chasma
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Sulfates in the chaos terrain of Javentae Chasma

Acquired Date: March 7, 2008
Release Date: December 6, 2013
Latitude: -2.51 N
Longitude: 61.64 E
Keywords: Chaos/Chasmata, Fracture/Faults, Hydrated Mineral, Layered Mineral, Sulfate minerals, Valles Marineris
Parameters: BD1900R/BD1950 (H2O), BD2100_2 (Monohydrated sulfates), SINDEX2 (Hydrated mineral)

Juventae Chamsa is a large canyon near the Valles Marineris canyon system in the equatorial part of Mars’ western hemisphere. Valles Marineris is about the size of the Mediterranean Sea if it were emptied of water; it would span the length of the United States! Juventae Chasma is about the size as Lake Huron if it were empty – but Lake Huron is not nearly as deep. This image shows in yellow and green small mounds of sulfate-bearing sedimentary rock sitting on top of rough “chaos” terrain on the canyon floor. Like sedimentary deposits elsewhere in Valles Marineris, they are rich in sulfate minerals. The class of sulfates can be distinguished by the amount of water bound into the sulfates’ crystal structures. Monohydrated sulfates (with one water molecule per sulfate molecule) are shown here in yellow.



Juventae Chamsa is a large canyon near the Valles Marineris canyon system in the equatorial part of Mars’ western hemisphere. Valles Marineris is about the size of the Mediterranean Sea if it were emptied of water; it would span the length of the United States! Juventae Chasma is about the size as Lake Huron if it were empty – but Lake Huron is not nearly as deep. This image shows in yellow and green small mounds of sulfate-bearing sedimentary rock sitting on top of rough “chaos” terrain on the canyon floor. Like sedimentary deposits elsewhere in Valles Marineris, they are rich in sulfate minerals. The class of sulfates can be distinguished by the amount of water bound into the sulfates’ crystal structures. Monohydrated sulfates (with one water molecule per sulfate molecule) are shown here in yellow.

Similar sulfate-bearing deposits appear throughout the enormous Valles Marineris canyon system and are called Interior Layered Deposits. The adjective “interior” refers to the deposits occurring inside but not surrounding Valles Marineris. “Layered” comes from the fact that both the morphology of the rocks and the minerals observed show horizontal stratification, similar to that in the walls of the Grand Canyon. The layering and the presence of sulfates are key pieces of evidence for a sedimentary origin.

Link to further description of the spectral parameters shown in this image

Disclaimer: Colors shown here represent indicators of mineralogy and are not what the human eye would see.

Acknowledgements: THEMIS, MOLA, CRISM, Google Earth.

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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