The Curiosity rover investigated the mineralogy of the Sheepbed mudstone member of the Yellowknife Bay formation in Gale crater. Data from the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffractometer (XRD) helped identify phyllosilicates in the two drilled samples, John Klein and Cumberland. These patterns showed peaks at low angles, consistent with (001) peaks in 2:1 swelling phyllosilicates . Evolved gas analyses (EGA) by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument of these samples confirmed the presence of phyllosilicates through the release of H2O at high temperatures, consistent with dehydroxylation of octahedral OH in phyllosilicates . CheMin data for the phyllosilicates at John Klein and Cumberland show that they are structurally similar in that their (02l) peaks are near 22.5 deg 2theta, suggesting both samples contain trioctahedral 2:1 phyllosilicates . However, the positions of the (001) peaks differ: the phyllosilicate at John Klein has its (001) peak at 10 Angstroms, whereas the phyllosilicate at Cumberland has an (001) peak at 14 Angstroms. Such differences in (001) dspacings can be ascribed to the type of cation in the interlayer site . For example, large monovalent cations (e.g., K(+)) have low hydration energies and readily lose their H2O of hydration, whereas small divalent cations (e.g., Mg(2+)) have high energies of hydration and retain H2O in the phyllosilicate interlayers [3,4]. The goal of this study is to determine whether differences in the interlayer cation composition can explain the CheMin data from John Klein and Cumberland and to use this knowledge to better understand phyllosilicate formation mechanisms.
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; 17-21 Mar. 2014; The Woodlands, TX; United States