Clay silicates, resulting from the chemical weathering of volcanic glasses and basaltic rocks of Mars, are generally believed to be major constituents of the martian regolith and atmospheric dust. Because little attention has been given to the role, if any, of Mg-bearing clay silicates on the martian surface, the crystal chemistry, stability, and reactivity of Mg-Fe smectites are examined. Partially dehydroxylated ferrian saponites are suggested to be major constituents of the surface of Mars, regulating several properties of the regolith.
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Lunar and Planetary Inst., MSATT Workshop on Chemical Weathering on Mars; p 6-7