High-resolution spectral images reveal many new exposures of hydrated minerals across the Noachian southern highlands of Mars. Several different phyllosilicates are observed, with inferred accompanying phases ranging from zeolites to sulfates to chlorides, each in distinct geologic settings. Hydrated sulfates are observed in several locations at mid-latitudes, and likely formed independently from the equatorial sulfates. These assemblages suggest a greater diversity of aqueous environments on ancient Mars than has previously been recognized, and their distribution implies that alteration was widespread during the Noachian Period, not restricted to a few locations.
- Received 20 April 2009.
- Revision received 23 June 2009.
- Accepted 29 June 2009.
- © 2009 Geological Society of America