Friday, January 18, 2013

Mineral Veins at the Sheepbed Unit

This image of an outcrop at the "Sheepbed" locality, taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover with its right Mast Camera (Mastcam), shows well-defined veins filled with whitish minerals, interpreted as calcium sulfate.

These veins form when water circulates through fractures, depositing minerals along the sides of the fracture, to form a vein.These veins are Curiosity's first look at minerals that formed within water that percolated within a subsurface environment. These vein fills are characteristic of the stratigraphically lowest unit in the "Yellowknife Bay" area -- known as the Sheepbed Unit.

Mastcam obtained these images the 126th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's mission on Mars (December 13, 2012). The view covers an area about 16 inches (40 centimeters) across.A superimposed scale bar is 8 centimeters (3.15 inch) long.

The image has been white-balanced to show what the rock would look like if it were on Earth.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Note: For more information, see PIA16615: Calcium-Rich Veins in Martian Rocks, PIA16616: Signs of Hydrated Calcium Sulfates in Martian Rocks, and PIA16617: Veins in Rocks on Mars and Earth.

No comments: