loading page

Geomorphology of Serpentine and Carbonate-Bearing Terrains in Nili Fossae, Jezero Crater, and Gusev Crater
  • Elena Lee
Elena Lee
Swarthmore College

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


Carbonates have been detected in several locations on Mars, including Nili Fossae, Jezero Crater, and the Comanche outcrops of the Columbia Hills. Carbonates are intriguing for what they could reveal about potential habitability of past environments; however, their exact formation mechanisms remain ambiguous. Observations support a range of formation mechanisms, such as meteoric alteration of hot olivine tephra, hydrothermal alteration or serpentinization, near-surface weathering of serpentinized material, or aqueous alteration via ephemeral lakes. The associated mineralogy of carbonate-bearing terrain, such as the serpentine deposits detected in Nili Fossae and Jezero, can help constrain the origins of the carbonates. This study examines CRISM and HiRISE images of serpentine and carbonate deposits in Nili Fossae and Jezero Crater to identify common characteristics of serpentine-carbonate terrains. The morphologies of serpentine and carbonate-bearing terrains in Nili Fossae and Jezero are then compared to carbonate deposits in the Columbia Hills. By combining these analyses, this study explores the extent to which the carbonates’ histories are analogous and probes into previous serpentine detections in Jezero and Nili Fossae.