Detection of Hydrated Silicates in Crustal Outcrops in the Northern Plains of Mars

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Science  25 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5986, pp. 1682-1686
DOI: 10.1126/science.1189013

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The composition of the ancient martian crust is a key ingredient in deciphering the environment and evolution of early Mars. We present an analysis of the composition of large craters in the martian northern plains based on data from spaceborne imaging spectrometers. Nine of the craters have excavated assemblages of phyllosilicates from ancient, Noachian crust buried beneath the plains’ cover. The phyllosilicates are indistinguishable from those exposed in widespread locations in the southern highlands, demonstrating that liquid water once altered both hemispheres of Mars.

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