Bulk Hydrogen Content OF High-Silica Rocks in Gale Crater With the Active Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons Experiment
Nikiforov, S. ; Mischna, M. ; Tate, C. G. ; Gabriel, T. S. J. ; Jun, I. ; Fedosov, F. ; Sanin, A. B. ; Golovin, D. ; Moersch, J. ; Kozyrev, A. S. ; Thompson, L. ; Litvak, M. ; Harshman, K. ; Mokrousov, M. ; Malakhov, A. ; Boynton, W. V. ; Archer, P. D., Jr. ; Mitrofanov, I. ; Hardgrove, C. ; Franz, H. B. ; Vostrukhin, A.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover recently traversed over plateaus of mafic aeolian sandstones (the 'Stimson' formation) that overlie mudstones (the 'Murray' formation). Within the Stimson formation we observed many lighter-toned, halo-forming features, that are potentially indicative of fluid alteration (see Fig. 1). These halo features extend for tens of meters laterally and are approx.1 meter wide. The halo features were characterized by Curiosity's geochemical instruments: Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), Chemin, Chemcam and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM). With respect to the host (unaltered) Stimson rocks, fracture halos were significantly enriched in silicon and low in iron . Changes in hydrogen abundance (due to its large neutron scattering cross section) greatly influence the magnitude of the thermal neutron response from the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument . There are also some elemental species, e.g. chlorine, iron, and nickel, that have significant microscopic neutron absorption cross sections. These elements can be abundant and variable results provide a useful estimate of the lower bound for bulk hydrogen content (assuming a homogeneous distribution).