Soil Diversity and Hydration as Observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars

P.-Y. Meslin*, O. Gasnault, O. Forni, S. Schröder, A. Cousin, G. Berger, S.M. Clegg, J. Lasue, S. Maurice, V. Sautter, S. Le Mouélic, R.C. Wiens, C. Fabre, W. Goetz, D. Bish, N. Mangold, B. Ehlmann, N. Lanza, A.-M. Harri, R. AndersonE. Rampe, T.H. McConnochie, P. Pinet, D. Blaney, R. Leveille, D. Archer, B. Barraclough, S. Bender, D. Blake, J. G. Blank, N. Bridges, B. C. Clark, L. DeFlores, D. Delapp, G. Dromart, M. D. Dyar, M. Fisk, B. Gondet, J. Grotzinger, K. Herkenhoff, J. Johnson, J.-L. Lacour, Y. Langevin, L. Leshin, E. Lewin, M. B. Madsen, N. Melikechi, A. Mezzacappa, M. A. Mischna, MSL Science Team

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

218 Citations (Scopus)


The ChemCam instrument, which provides insight into martian soil chemistry at the submillimeter scale, identified two principal soil types along the Curiosity rover traverse: a fine-grained mafic type and a locally derived, coarse-grained felsic type. The mafic soil component is representative of widespread martian soils and is similar in composition to the martian dust. It possesses a ubiquitous hydrogen signature in ChemCam spectra, corresponding to the hydration of the amorphous phases found in the soil by the CheMin instrument. This hydration likely accounts for an important fraction of the global hydration of the surface seen by previous orbital measurements. ChemCam analyses did not reveal any significant exchange of water vapor between the regolith and the atmosphere. These observations provide constraints on the nature of the amorphous phases and their hydration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Issue number6153
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2013

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments: This research was carried out with funding from the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Work in the United States was carried out under contract from NASA’s Mars Program Office. W.G. acknowledges partial funding from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft grant GO 2288/1-1. This team gratefully acknowledges JPL for developing and leading this successful mission. The data reported in this paper are archived at the Planetary Data System, accessible at


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