Felsic Igneous Rocks at Gale Crater : a Comparison with Lithic Clasts in NWA 7533
Friday, 19 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Curiosity rover landed at Gale, an early Hesperian age crater formed within Noachian rocks. In Hummocky plain, more than half of the igneous floats rocks are highly alkaline rocks (Stolper et al. doi: 101126/science.12239463, Schmidt et al. doi: 10.1002/2013JE004481) and feldspar-bearing rocks (Sautter et al. doi: 10.1002/2013JE00447). ChemCam observations at sub-millimeter scale show that these samples contain a significant feldspar component, either associated with LCP in gabbroic texture or with augite in effusive rocks defining an alkaline K-feldspar-bearing suite: basanite, trachy-andesite with porphyritic texture and syenitic rock with apahnitic texture. This series likely resulted from differentiation of liquids produced by low degrees of partial melting of primitive mantle. These rocks are float rocks or occurred as clast in conglomerate suggesting a provenance from Gale crater rim. NWA 7533 is the first Noachian breccia sampling the southern hemisphere Martian regolith. It is a polymict breccia with leucocratic clasts including zircon with 4.4 Ga ages Humayun et al., doi :10.1038/nature). The alkali basaltic evolved clasts contain two feldspars (alkali and plagioclase) and modal recombination gives a basaltic trachy-andesite, gabbroic, trachy-andesite and mugearite clast (Agee et al. doi: 10.1126/science. 1228858). Noritic clasts contain andesine, LCP, and Cr-magnetite. The monzonitic/mugearitic-evolved clasts are composed of alkali feldspar, plagioclase, augite, Ti-Magnetite, Cl-apatite and zircon. These clasts would represent products of Martian crust emplaced at 4.5 Ga and re-melted at 4.4 Ga (Humayun et al., doi :10.1038/nature). The leucocratic clasts of the Noachian SNC breccia will be compared with evolved lithology encountered at Gale crater and products of Noachian magmatism will be discussed.