Mars for Earthlings > Lesson Modules > Homework 2- Basalt & JMARS

Basalt & JMARS

Homework 2_Olympus Mons & Igneous Rocks

Julia Kahmann-Robinson PhD, University of Utah Department of Geology & Geophysics


Become familiar with basalt mineralogy and the varying mineralogies common and/or rare to Mars.


Minerals & Elements

The following are common igneous/mafic rock-forming minerals. For each mineral find its chemical formula:

  1. Olivine
  2. Pyroxene
  3. Amphibole
  4. Biotite
  5. Plagioclase (anorthite)

Compare the chemical formulas and their elements to the element abundance list for Mars below. Which minerals do you think will be more common on Mars? Please explain your choices below next to the list.

  1. oxygen
  2. silicon
  3. iron
  4. magnesium
  5. calcium
  6. aluminium
  7. sodium
  8. potassium
  9. chloride

Valles Marineris in JMARS

Open JMARS. Using the Nomenclature layer zoom to Valles Marineris to gain your geographical bearing. Add and compare the following layers (Add New Layer –> Maps by Instrument –>TES Mineral Maps): Basalt Abundance, Plagioclase Abundance (Bandfield, 2002), any olivine abundance map, and Carbonate Abundance. Warmer colors denote grater abundance.

  1. Which map has the most coverage? Why might this be?
  2. Where does the abundance of Plagioclase increase generally on the surface of Mars? Use geographical points of references to explain, or lat/long.
  3. Compare the following animation for plagioclase abundance on Mars to the JMARS mineral map. Which perspective do you prefer?

Are you surprised about the abundance of plagioclase on Mars in comparison to other minerals? Why or why not?