This study investigates three bedrock exposures at Erebus crater, an ̃ 300 m diameter crater approximately 4 km south of Endurance crater on Mars. These outcrops, called Olympia, Payson, and Yavapai, provide additional evidence in support of the dune-interdune model proposed for the formation of the deposits at the Opportunity landing site in Meridiani Planum. There is evidence for greater involvement of liquid water in the Olympia outcrop exposures than was observed in Eagle or Endurance craters. The Olympia outcrop likely formed in a wet interdune and sand sheet environment. The facies observed within the Payson outcrop, which is likely stratigraphically above the Olympia outcrop, indicate that it was deposited in a damp-wet interdune, sand sheet, and eolian dune environment. The Yavapai outcrop, which likely stratigraphically overlies the Payson outcrop, indicates that it was deposited in primarily a sand sheet environment and also potentially in an eolian dune environment. These three outcrop exposures may indicate an overall drying-upward trend spanning the stratigraphic section from its base at the Olympia outcrop to its top at the Yavapai outcrop. This contrasts with the wetting-upward trend seen in Endurance and Eagle craters. Thus, the series of outcrops seen at Meridiani by Opportunity may constitute a full climatic cycle, evolving from dry to wet to dry conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas