13.07.2021 •

Detection of Reduced Sulfur on Vera Rubin Ridge by Quadratic Discriminant Analysis of Volatiles Observed During Evolved Gas Analysis


The Mars Science Laboratory mission investigated Vera Rubin ridge, which bears spectral indications of elevated amounts of hematite and has been hypothesized as having a complex diagenetic history. Martian samples, including three drilled samples from the ridge, were analyzed by the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite via evolved gas analysis-mass spectrometry (EGA-MS). Here, we report new EGA-MS data from Martian samples and describe laboratory analogue experiments. Analyses of laboratory analogues help determine the presence of reduced sulfur in Martian solid samples, which could have supported potential microbial life. We used evolved carbonyl sulfide (COS) and carbon disulfide (CS2) to identify Martian samples likely to contain reduced sulfur by applying a quadratic discriminant analysis. While we report results for 24 Martian samples, we focus on Vera Rubin ridge samples and select others for comparison. Our results suggest the presence of reduced sulfur in the Jura member of Vera Rubin ridge, which can support various diagenetic history models, including, as discussed in this work, diagenetic alteration initiated by a mildly reducing, sulfite-containing groundwater.

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JGR Planets