Wednesday, October 3, 2012

SEPM Announces New Book on Martian Geology

Even as Curiosity begins its Martian adventure, the group that finalized that program has published everything that we knew about Martian sedimentary geology prior to the historic landing event.

SEPM Special Publication #102
Sedimentary Geology of Mars

Edited by: John P. Grotzinger and Ralph E. Milliken

Often thought of as a volcanically dominated planet, Mars, over the last several decades of exploration, has revealed with increasing clarity the role of sedimentary processes in its formation. Data from recent orbiters have highlighted the role of sedimentary processes throughout the geologic evolution of Mars by providing evidence that such processes are preserved in a rock record that likely spans a period of more than four billion years. Rover observations have provided complementary outcrop-scale evidence for ancient eolian and fluvial transport and deposition. Data have also shown surprisingly Earth-like patterns of diagenesis that involve recrystallization and the formation of concretions. In addition, the detection of clay minerals and sulfate salts on Mars, coupled with large-scale morphologic features indicative of fluvial activity, indicate that water-rock interactions were once common on the Martian surface. This is in stark contrast to the dry and cold surface environment that exists today, in which eolian processes appear to be the dominant mode for
sediment transport on Mars.

These issues and others were discussed at the First International Conference on Mars Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, held in El Paso, Texas in April of 2010. The papers presented in this volume are largely an extension of that workshop, and cover topics ranging from laboratory studies of the geochemistry of Martian
meteorites, to sediment transport and deposition on Mars, as well as studies of terrestrial analogs to gain insight into ancient Martian environments. These papers incorporate data from recent orbiter and rover missions, and are designed to provide both terrestrial and planetary geologists with an overview of our
current knowledge of Mars sedimentology, as well as outstanding questions related to sedimentary processes on Mars.

More information about the Society’s publications can be found at:

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