Assessing the mineralogy of the watershed and fan deposits of the Jezero crater paleolake system, Mars
We present results from geomorphic mapping and visible to near-infrared spectral analyses of the Jezero crater paleolake basin and its associated watershed. The goal of this study is to understand the provenance of the sedimentary deposits within this open-basin lake using a source-to-sink approach. Two fan deposits located within the basin have distinct visible to near-infrared mineralogic signatures measured by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). The northern fan is spectrally characterized by a mixture of Mg-rich carbonate and olivine, while the western fan is characterized by Fe/Mg-smectite (e.g., saponite or nontronite) with variable amounts of Mg-rich carbonate and olivine in isolated exposures. The watersheds of these deposits contain a variety of geomorphic units that are likely to have supplied sediment to the Jezero crater paleolake, as the fluvial valleys that fed the basin incise these units. The geomorphic units include exposures of Fe/Mg-smectite-, olivine-, and Mg-rich carbonate-bearing terrain. We show that the difference in fan deposit mineralogy is a function of the areal exposure of the major geomorphic units within their watersheds. This indicates that the spectrally dominant aqueous alteration minerals in the fan deposits are primarily detrital, or transported, in nature and did not form in situ. We conclude that the aqueous alteration of the units in the watershed occurred prior to the fluvial activity that carved the valleys of the Jezero crater paleolake system, and that the two periods of aqueous activity are not genetically related.