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Sulfates in Juventae Chasma
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Sulfates in Juventae Chasma

Acquired Date: February 2, 2008
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Latitude: -4.41 N
Longitude: -62.29 E
Keywords: Chaos/Chasmata, 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 2.5 kilometer high mountain on the canyon floor is a remnant of sedimentary rocks that were once more extensive, but have now been reduced to eroded mounds. Like sedimentary deposits elsewhere in Valles Marineris, they are rich in sulfate minerals. Two major classes of sulfates are seen here, 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.



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 2.5 kilometer high mountain on the canyon floor is a remnant of sedimentary rocks that were once more extensive, but have now been reduced to eroded mounds. Like sedimentary deposits elsewhere in Valles Marineris, they are rich in sulfate minerals. Two major classes of sulfates are seen here, 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.

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.

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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