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Soils of Eagle Crater and Meridiani Planum at the Opportunity Rover Landing Site

L. A. Soderblom, R. C. Anderson, R. E. Arvidson, J. F. Bell III, N. A. Cabrol, W. Calvin, P. R. Christensen, B. C. Clark, T. Economou, B. L. Ehlmann, W. H. Farrand, D. Fike, R. Gellert, T. D. Glotch, M. P. Golombek, R. Greeley, J. P. Grotzinger, K. E. Herkenhoff, D. J. Jerolmack, J. R. Johnson, B. Jolliff, G. Klingelhöfer, A. H. Knoll, Z. A. Learner, R. Li, M. C. Malin, S. M. McLennan, H. Y. McSween, D. W. Ming, R. V. Morris, J. W. Rice Jr., L. Richter, R. Rieder, D. Rodionov, C. Schröder, F. P. Seelos IV, J. M. Soderblom, S. W. Squyres, R. Sullivan, W. A. Watters, C. M. Weitz, M. B. Wyatt, A. Yen and J. Zipfel
Science
New Series, Vol. 306, No. 5702, Opportunity at Meridiani Planum (Dec. 3, 2004), pp. 1715-1726
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3839765
Page Count: 12
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Soils of Eagle Crater and Meridiani Planum at the Opportunity Rover Landing Site
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Abstract

The soils at the Opportunity site are fine-grained basaltic sands mixed with dust and sulfate-rich outcrop debris. Hematite is concentrated in spherules eroded from the strata. Ongoing saltation exhumes the spherules and their fragments, concentrating them at the surface. Spherules emerge from soils coated, perhaps from subsurface cementation, by salts. Two types of vesicular clasts may represent basaltic sand sources. Eolian ripples, armored by well-sorted hematite-rich grains, pervade Meridiani Planum. The thickness of the soil on the plain is estimated to be about a meter. The flatness and thin cover suggest that the plain may represent the original sedimentary surface.

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