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Monohydrated Sulfate near Louros Valles in Valles Marineris
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Monohydrated Sulfate near Louros Valles in Valles Marineris

Acquired Date: April 22, 2008
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Latitude: -8.56 N
Longitude: -79.44 E
Keywords: Fracture/Faults, Hydrated Mineral, Layered Mineral, Sulfate minerals, Valles Marineris
Parameters: BD1900R/BD1950 (H2O), BD2100_2 (Monohydrated sulfates), SINDEX2 (Hydrated mineral)

This CRISM image shows the bottom of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon system on Mars. It is about the size of the Mediterranean Sea if it were emptied of water and spans the length of the United States! Like sedimentary deposits elsewhere in Valles Marineris, the sedimentary rocks shown here are rich in sulfate minerals. Two major classes of sulfates occur in Valles Marineris, and are distinguished by the amount of water bound into the sulfates’ crystal structures. Monohydrated sulfates (with one water molecule per sulfate molecule) are shown in yellow, and polyhydrated sulfates (with multiple waters per sulfate molecule) are shown in magenta/purple.



This CRISM image shows the bottom of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon system on Mars. It is about the size of the Mediterranean Sea if it were emptied of water and spans the length of the United States! Like sedimentary deposits elsewhere in Valles Marineris, the sedimentary rocks shown here are rich in sulfate minerals. Two major classes of sulfates occur in Valles Marineris, and are distinguished by the amount of water bound into the sulfates’ crystal structures. Monohydrated sulfates (with one water molecule per sulfate molecule) are shown in yellow, and polyhydrated sulfates (with multiple waters per sulfate molecule) are shown in magenta/purple.

These complex, layered, sulfate-bearing deposits appear throughout the enormous Valles Marineris canyon system. The different kinds of sulfates form under different environmental conditions, with polyhydrated sulfates requiring a wetter environment than monohydrated sulfates. Some scientists studying these rocks think that the layering of different types of sulfates records a changing environment of sedimentary rock deposition.

Links 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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