Formation of a Phyllosilicate-, K-feldspar-, and Sulfate-Bearing Hematite Ridge on Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawaii, Under Hydrothermal, Acid-Sulfate Conditions: Process and Mineralogical Analog for the Hematite Ridge on Mt. Sharp, Gale Crater, Mars.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 14:55
2007 (Moscone West)
Richard V Morris1, Melissa Ellen Adams2, Douglas W Ming1, Jeffrey G Catalano3, Trevor G. Graff4, Raymond E Arvidson3, Edward A Guinness5, John C Hamilton2, Stanley A Mertzman6 and Abigail Fraeman7, (1)NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States, (2)Univ of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI, United States, (3)Washington University in St Louis, St. Louis, MO, United States, (4)Jacobs Technology, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States, (5)Washington University in St Louis, PDS Geosciences Node, St. Louis, MO, United States, (6)Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, United States, (7)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States
The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity is currently moving upslope on Mt. Sharp in Gale Crater toward a hematite-bearing ridge. This hematite exposure was originally detected in CRISM spectra and subsequently mapped as part of a ~200 m wide, 6.5 km long ridge extending roughly parallel to the base of Mt. Sharp. CRISM spectra in the region suggest that hematite, smectite, and hydrated sulfates occur as secondary phases in lower layers of Mt. Sharp, separated by an unconformity from overlying anhydrous strata. A potential process and mineralogical analog is a hematite-bearing and weathering-resistant stratum (ridge) is exposed on the Puu Poliahu cinder cone on Mauna Kea (MK) volcano, Hawaii. The MK ridge is the product of hydrothermal alteration of basaltic precursors under acid-sulfate conditions. We are acquiring chemical and mineralogical (VNIR, Mid-IR, and backscatter Moessbauer spectroscopy, and transmission XRD) data on the MK ridge area that correspond to rover and orbiting spacecraft measurements at Gale Crater and elsewhere. The hematite-bearing stratum does not have detectable sulfate minerals by XRD, and hematite is variably present as up to mm-sized black crystals which, together with associated trioctahedral smectite and K-feldspar (from XRD), imply hydrothermal conditions. Adjacent to the MK hematite-bearing stratum are sulfates (jarosite and alunite) that are evidence for aqueous alteration under acid-sulfate conditions, and more soluble sulfates are absent but such phases would not persist if formed because of annual precipitation. Dioctahedral smectite is associated with red hematite and alunite-rich samples. The black and red hematite zones have the highest and lowest MgO/Al2O3 and K2O/Na2O ratios, respectively. Hematite, smectite, jarosite, and K-feldspar have been detected by Curiosity XRD downslope from the Mt. Sharp hematite ridge. MK field work and samples were obtained with PISCES partnership and OMKM, MKMB, BLNR, and KKMC permissions.