Nickel on Mars: Constraints on meteoritic material at the surface

Albert S. Yen, D. W. Mittlefehldt, S. M. McLennan, R. Gellert, James F. Bell, Jr Y. McSween, D. W. Ming, T. J. McCoy, R. V. Morris, Matthew P. Golombek, T. Economou, M. B. Madsen, T. Wdowiak, B. C. Clark, B. L. Jolliff, C. Schröder, J. Brückner, J. Zipfel, Steven W. Squyres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Impact craters and the discovery of meteorites on Mars indicate clearly that there is meteoritic material at the Martian surface. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometers (APXS) on board the Mars Exploration Rovers measure the elemental chemistry of Martian samples, enabling an assessment of the magnitude of the meteoritic contribution. Nickel, an element that is greatly enhanced in meteoritic material relative to samples of the Martian crust, is directly detected by the APXS and is observed to be geochemically mobile at the Martian surface. Correlations between nickel and other measured elements are used to constrain the quantity of meteoritic material present in Martian soil and sedimentary rock samples. Results indicate that analyzed soils samples and certain sedimentary rocks contain an average of 1% to 3% contamination from meteoritic debris.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE12S11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 20 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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