Comparing MSL ChemCam Analyses to Shergottite and Terrestrial Rock Types
Abstract:The ChemCam instrument on Mars Science Laboratory determines the elemental composition of target areas at ≤6m range, and has acquired over 145000 spectra. Here we use the individual shots and averaged targets with the PLS1 dataset on both outcrops and float rocks.
Various localities were sampled, including Rocknest, Sheepbed, Shaler, Cooperstown, Darwin and Kimberley. Rocknest and Sheepbed shots have quite homogeneous, basaltic compositions with Gini factors of 0.66 and 0.67 respectively (a Gini factor of 0 indicates a completely homogeneous dataset). Shaler is similarly homogeneous with a Gini factor 0.62 but is more felsic in composition. Darwin and Kimberley both follow a basaltic mixing trend between pyroxene and alkali feldspars. They have a heterogeneous spread with factors of 0.77 and 0.74. Kimberley and Darwin are the most alkaline outcrops, and then Shaler, finally Sheepbed and Rocknest are the least alkaline. The Na2O and K2O contents are controlled by variable abundances of alkaline feldspars.
Many float rocks were also analysed. They include samples with mm-sized, visible feldspar grains, which are probable phenocrysts and cumulate grains. These rocks likely come from different sources as their compositions are quite heterogeneous e.g. the Gini factor for the whole set of feldspar-rich float rocks is 0.76 (using an average composition for each target). We compare these compositions with data from the MER APXS, and from this we can see that the float rocks sampled by MSL are closer to the alkaline feldspar end of the basaltic mixing trend than the more FeO+MgO-rich MER basalts (e.g. Rieder et al. 2004 10.1126/science.1104358) The basaltic shergottite meteorites also have higher FeO+MgO contents and lower Al2O3 than the MSL rocks. When compared on Al2O3-(FeOMgO)-(Na2OK2O)-CaO and other plots, the float rocks have compositions similar to a spread between terrestrial diorite and gabbro, though some have high Na2O+K2O contents.