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R.E. Milliken

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The Noachian terrain west of the Isidis basin hosts a diverse collection of alteration minerals in rocks comprising varied geomorphic units within a 100,000 km2 region in and near the Nili Fossae. Prior investigations in this region by the Observatoire pour l'Min??ralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces, et l'Activit?? (OMEGA) instrument on Mars Express revealed large exposures of both mafic minerals and iron magnesium phyllosilicates in stratigraphic context. Expanding on the discoveries of OMEGA, the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has found more spatially widespread and mineralogically diverse alteration minerals than previously realized, which represent...
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The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Science
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Geochemical models for Mars predict carbonate formation during aqueous alteration. Carbonate-bearing rocks had not previously been detected on Mars' surface, but Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mapping reveals a regional rock layer with near-infrared spectral characteristics that are consistent with the presence of magnesium carbonate in the Nili Fossae region. The carbonate is closely associated with both phyllosilicate-bearing and olivine-rich rock units and probably formed during the Noachian or early Hesperian era from the alteration of olivine by either hydrothermal fluids or near-surface water. The presence of carbonate as well as accompanying clays suggests that waters were neutral to alkaline at the time of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Science
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Columbus crater in the Terra Sirenum region of the Martian southern highlands contains light‐toned layered deposits with interbedded sulfate and phyllosilicate minerals, a rare occurrence on Mars. Here we investigate in detail the morphology, thermophysical properties, mineralogy, and stratigraphy of these deposits; explore their regional context; and interpret the crater's aqueous history. Hydrated mineral‐bearing deposits occupy a discrete ring around the walls of Columbus crater and are also exposed beneath younger materials, possibly lava flows, on its floor. Widespread minerals identified in the crater include gypsum, polyhydrated and monohydrated Mg/Fe‐sulfates, and kaolinite; localized deposits consistent...
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Phyllosilicates, a class of hydrous mineral first definitively identified on Mars by the OMEGA (Observatoire pour la Mineralogie, L’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activitié) instrument1,2, preserve a record of the interaction of water with rocks on Mars. Global mapping showed that phyllosilicates are widespread but are apparently restricted to ancient terrains and a relatively narrow range of mineralogy (Fe/Mg and Al smectite clays). This was interpreted to indicate that phyllosilicate formation occurred during the Noachian (the earliest geological era of Mars), and that the conditions necessary for phyllosilicate formation (moderate to high pH and high water activity3) were specific to surface environments during the earliest...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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