A few days ago, Still active on Mars, take one Very strange: the sand hit the ground Mars stands small Flower shaped mineral. Rarely 1 cm wide, there are several arms in the concrete, which are attached to the base.
However, this is not the first time Curiosity has photographed this type of creation. According to scientists, they are the result of a diagnostic process, that is, they are the result of remodeling. In place Of, Leads to the development of a new crystal. The formation of this type of structure is especially related to the presence of water saturated with sulfates.
Mineral formation captured by Mars Curiosity Soul 3396, created from 6 images taken by Mahli instrument on Mars 3396 & 3397 on the Mars Curiosity rover. © Nasa / JPL-Caltech / MSSS
Analog of Mars of our sand roses
In this sense, it may be the analogue of the Martian planet of our roses Or anhydrite is also part of this type of mineral. Therefore, evaporators usually form in shallow layers, subject to strong evaporation and defective aqueous regime such as pools or pools. .. The origin of the creation is actually reminiscent of an evaporative concretion. On Earth, there are evaporators From sediments during the evaporation process of a liquid containing chlorides or sulfates ( ) Rock salt is the most well-known evaporation, but
Well known sand roses grow under certain conditions. These wonderful rocksOrange is crystallization Usually in a sandy environment. Therefore, sand roses do not form like the gypsum in the middle. . Gypsum crystals can grow even in uncoordinated media (sand or ), Soaked Rich . As evaporation progresses, the sheet condenses into ions until the concentration allows the crystallization of the minerals. The crystals grow by pushing sand around them. Thus we see roses in the sand Buried under a few meters of sand.
A small mineral flower dug out by erosion
A similar process may be the origin of thin Mars Blackberry salt. Previous studies of similar concretes have shown that crystals may have grown in the soil. But how to explain their presence on the surface today? Simply by the erosion process. Over time, Martian winds eroded the rock, until they brought these little wrinkles to light. Highly resistant to corrosion by its nature, this concrete now looks like a small mineral flower on the ground. .
At another Mars site explored by Curiosity, this type of concrete was analyzed using composite tools. And APXS. At the very least, for this site, the concrete is especially enriched with magnesium (Mg) and many other types. (S) The chemical composition is mainly MgSO4, The surface of the CaSO compound distinguishes these concretions from gypsum4.
This type of concretion provides a lot of information about the past environment of Mars and especially the presence of water in the form of salt water at its base.