The ubiquitous eolian dust on Mars plays important roles in the current sedimentary and atmospheric processes of the planet. The ChemCam instrument retrieves a consistent eolian dust composition at the submillimeter scale from every first laser shot on Mars targets. Its composition presents significant differences with the Aeolis Palus soils and the Bagnold dunes as it contains lower CaO and higher SiO2. The dust FeO and TiO2 contents are also higher, probably associated with nanophase oxide components. The dust spectra show the presence of volatile elements (S and Cl), and the hydrogen content is similar to Bagnold sands but lower than Aeolis Palus soils. Consequently, the dust may be a contributor to the amorphous component of soils, but differences in composition indicate that the two materials are not equivalent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Earth and Planetary Sciences