Basaltic rocks analyzed by the Spirit Rover in Gusev Crater

Science. 2004 Aug 6;305(5685):842-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1099851.


The Spirit landing site in Gusev Crater on Mars contains dark, fine-grained, vesicular rocks interpreted as lavas. Pancam and Mini-Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) spectra suggest that all of these rocks are similar but have variable coatings and dust mantles. Magnified images of brushed and abraded rock surfaces show alteration rinds and veins. Rock interiors contain </=25% megacrysts. Chemical analyses of rocks by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer are consistent with picritic basalts, containing normative olivine, pyroxenes, plagioclase, and accessory FeTi oxides. Mössbauer, Pancam, and Mini-TES spectra confirm the presence of olivine, magnetite, and probably pyroxene. These basalts extend the known range of rock compositions composing the martian crust.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Extraterrestrial Environment
  • Geologic Sediments
  • Iron Compounds
  • Magnesium Compounds
  • Mars*
  • Minerals*
  • Oxides
  • Silicates*
  • Spectroscopy, Mossbauer
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Water


  • Iron Compounds
  • Magnesium Compounds
  • Minerals
  • Oxides
  • Silicates
  • basalt
  • Water
  • olivine