Benjamin T. Cardenas, John P. Grotzinger, Michael P. Lamb, Kevin W. Lewis, Christopher M. Fedo, Alexander B. Bryk, William E. Dietrich, Nathan Stein, Madison Turner, Gwénaël Caravaca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The early environmental history of Mars is encoded in the planet’s record of sedimentary rocks. Since 2012, the Curiosity rover has been ascending Mount Sharp, Gale crater’s central mound, making detailed observations of sedimentary strata exposed there. The primary depositional setting represented by the rocks examined thus far has been a perennial lake, represented by the mudstones and sandstone lenses of the Murray formation. Here, we report on the sedimentology of outcrops examined in the Carolyn Shoemaker formation, which sits stratigraphically above the Murray formation. We interpret strata exposed in the Glasgow and Mercou members of the Carolyn Shoemaker formation to represent river bars in ancient alluvial and shoreline settings based on sedimentary structures, stratal geometries measured from photogrammetric data, and erosional morphology. The transition from a lacustrine to a fluvial depositional setting records the aggradation and progradation of coastal rivers into what was previously the extent of the Gale lake system. This may have occurred due to the shrinking of the lake over time due to climate-driven changes in the basin water balance, or local three-dimensionality in shoreline evolution, such as the formation of a new sedimentary lobe following a channel switch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1071-1092
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Sedimentary Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


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