Chemo-stratigraphy in the Murray Formation Using ChemCam
Abstract:Curiosity has completed a detailed chemo-stratigraphy analysis at the Pahrump exposure of the Murray formation. In total >570 chemical measurements and supporting remote micro images to classify texturally were collected. Chemical trends with both stratigraphic position and with texture were evaluated. From these data emerges a complex aqueous history where sediments have interacted with fluids with variable chemistry in distinct episodes.
The ChemCam data collected at the nearby “Garden City” (GC) vein complex provides constraints on the chemical evolution of the Pahrump. GC is thought be stratigraphically above the Pahrump outcrop. Fluids producing the veins likely also migrated through the Pahrump sediments. Multiple episodes of fluids are evident at GC, forming distinct Ca sulfate, F-rich, enhanced MgO, and FeO-rich veins. These different fluid chemistries could be the result of distinct fluids migrating through the section from a distance with a pre-established chemical signature, fluids locally evolved from water rock interactions, or both.
Texturally rocks have been classified into two distinct categories: fine grained or as cross-bedded sandstones. The sandstones have significantly lower SiO2, Al2O3, and K2O and higher FeO, and CaO. Fine grained rocks have further been sub-classified as resistant and recessive with other textural features such as laminations and pits noted.The strongest chemical trend in the fine-grained sandstones shows enhancements in MgO and FeO in erosion-resistant materials compared to fine grained recessive units, suggesting that increased abundance of Mg- and/or iron-rich cements may provide additional strength. The MgO and FeO variations with texture are independent of stratigraphic locations (e.g resistant material at both the bottom and top of the outcrop both are enhanced in MgO and FeO). The presence of the GC MgO and FeO rich veins provides additional evidence for fluids rich in these elements were present in the outcrop. Other elemental trends results including SiO2, Al2O3, K2O and Na2O will be explored in addition to key trace element signatures such as Li, Cr and F to understand the chemical evolution of the outcrop.