Orbital topographic, image, and spectral data show that sulfate- and hematite-bearing plains deposits similar to those explored by the MER rover Opportunity unconformably overlie the northeastern portion of the 160 km in diameter Miyamoto crater. Crater floor materials exhumed to the west of the contact exhibit CRISM and OMEGA NIR spectral signatures consistent with the presence of Fe/Mg-rich smectite phyllosilicates. Based on superposition relationships, the phyllosilicate-bearing deposits formed either in-situ or were deposited on the floor of Miyamoto crater prior to the formation of the sulfate-rich plains unit. These findings support the hypothesis that neutral pH aqueous conditions transitioned to a ground-water driven acid sulfate system in the Sinus Meridiani region. The presence of both phyllosilicate and sulfate- and hematite-bearing deposits within Miyamoto crater make it an attractive site for exploration by future rover missions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)