The School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Presents Dr. Shaunna Morrison, Carnegie Science Geophysical Laboratory
In Situ X-ray Diffraction and Crystal Chemistry of Martian Minerals with Implications for the Habitability and Geologic History of Mars
The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, is providing observations of rocks and soils in Gale crater. Since landing in 2012, Curiosity has analyzed the mineralogy of sediments with the CheMin instrument, the first X-ray diffractometer on another planet (Blake et al. 2013).
CheMin performs quantitative mineralogical analyses of drilled powders and scooped sediment to determine mineral abundances, unit-cell parameters of major crystalline phases, and to estimate the chemical composition of major phases (Morrison et al. 2018a-b).
The mineralogy of analyzed samples plays a key role in characterizing various 3.5 billion-year-old fluvio-lacustrine paleoenvironments in Gale crater, including provenance as well as degree and nature of alteration (e.g., Achilles et al. 2017; Yen 2017; Rampe et al. 2018).