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Rock Weathering Processes and Products on Martian Surface

  • SATO Masato
    Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba
  • HATTANJI Tsuyoshi
    Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba
  • MATSUOKA Norikazu
    Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba

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Other Title
  • 火星表面における岩石の風化プロセスと風化生成物
  • カセイ ヒョウメン ニ オケル ガンセキ ノ フウカ プロセス ト フウカ セイセイブツ

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Abstract

 Weathering processes on Martian surface are among the essential issues for both understanding landform evolution and exploring water availability on Martian surface. Studies are reviewed on various weathering processes on Martian surface based on images, data collected by rovers, and laboratory approaches. Recent explorations by the Mars Exploration Rovers reveal that chemical weathering occurs on the surface of basaltic regolith. Dissolution of olivine and oxidation of Fe produces weathering rinds on basaltic surface regolith. Rock interiors also show vugs and veins filled with light-toned efflorescence indicative of chemical weathering. In particular, in high-latitude areas the two Viking landers and the Mars Pathfinder observed honeycomb weathering, angular rock fragments, and polygonal cracks in bedrock. Most of these features are also observed in the Antarctica and other cold deserts on Earth, and are generally attributed to physical weathering such as salt crystallization, thermal weathering, and/or frost weathering. Some studies successfully estimate periods and rates of weathering on the Martian surface, which promote a further understanding of environmental changes and landform evolution.

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