Compositionally and density stratified igneous terrain in Jezero crater, Mars

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  • SuperCam Team

Before Perseverance, Jezero crater's floor was variably hypothesized to have a lacustrine, lava, volcanic airfall, or aeolian origin. SuperCam observations in the first 286 Mars days on Mars revealed a volcanic and intrusive terrain with compositional and density stratification. The dominant lithology along the traverse is basaltic, with plagioclase enrichment in stratigraphically higher locations. Stratigraphically lower, layered rocks are richer in normative pyroxene. The lowest observed unit has the highest inferred density and is olivine-rich with coarse (1.5 millimeters) euhedral, relatively unweathered grains, suggesting a cumulate origin. This is the first martian cumulate and shows similarities to martian meteorites, which also express olivine disequilibrium. Alteration materials including carbonates, sulfates, perchlorates, hydrated silicates, and iron oxides are pervasive but low in abundance, suggesting relatively brief lacustrine conditions. Orbital observations link the Jezero floor lithology to the broader Nili-Syrtis region, suggesting that density-driven compositional stratification is a regional characteristic.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience Advances
Issue number34
Pages (from-to)eabo3399
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2022

ID: 318704018