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Some consequences of a liquid water saturated regolith in early Martian historyFlooding of low-lying areas of the Martian regolith may have occurred early in the planet's history when a comparatively dense primitive atmosphere existed. If this model is valid, the following are some pedogenic and mineralogical consequences to be expected. Fluctuation of the water table in response to any seasonal or longer term causes would have resulted in precipitation of ferric oxyhydroxides with the development of a vesicular duricrust (or hardpan). Disruption of such a crust by scarp undercutting or frost heaving accompanied by wind deflation of fines could account for the boulders visible on Utopia Planitia in the vicinity of the second Viking lander site. Laboratory and field evidence on earth suggests that under weakly oxidizing conditions lepidocrocite (rather than goethite) would have preferentially formed in the Martian regolith from the weathering of ferrous silicates, accompanied by montmorillonite, nontronite, and cronstedtite. Maghemite may have formed as a low-temperature dehydrate of lepidocrocite or directly from ferrous precursors.
Document ID
19780055833
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Fuller, A. O. (Princeton University Princeton, N.J.; Cape Town, University, Rondebosch, Republic of South Africa, United States)
Hargraves, R. B. (Princeton University Princeton, N.J., United States)
Date Acquired
August 9, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 1978
Publication Information
Publication: Icarus
Volume: 34
Subject Category
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NAS1-9705
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other