The purpose of the Curiosity Rover Mission is to establish whether planet Mars contains the right mix of conditions that support life. The study focused on understanding the nature of the rocks found on Mars, and in this case, breccia. Breccia is a sedimentary rock consisting of large angular fragments that ccumulated together with pore spaces filled by a matrix (Choquette &James 105). Breccia originates from the process of mechanical weathering and accumulation at the base of a rock outcrop. The matrix is a result of chemical precipitate, sedimentary deposit, or rock attrition (Mehl, Jackson & Neuendorf 264).
Breccia is made up of fragments formed igneously from cooling magma and possibly quartz, calcite feldspars, micas, or clay form the matrix eroded into sediments that were altered by water and air. It is usually found in debris flows, fault zones, impact site deposits, and cryptolithic explosion events. We have the subaqueous that is formed under water, subaerial that is formed in the open air, and endolithic formed within the earth’s lithosphere. ln some cases, subaqueous breccia may also be fossiliferous, a scenario where the matrix is made up of fossils. This is an indication of the presence of organisms. The subaerial breccia is formed at the foot of a cliff as a result of weathering caused by wind, frost or temperature changes (Mehl, Jackson & Neuendorf 138). The matrix is supplied by the weathering of the cliff, or by foreign material brought by wind as the ones found in Buttercup hills in Canada (Mehl, Jackson & Neuendorf 138).
The evolution of different breccias rocks found in Mars gives a hint to the history of Mars atmosphere. The endolithic breccia indicates the occurrence of a volcanic eruption that happened while there was residual material originating from the area that was trapped in the lava as stated by Mehl, Jackson & Neuendorf (185). In cases where fossil breccias are found, this is an indication of a water body at some point in Mars. The fragmentation of rock to form breccia also indicates the presence of a weathering element in the form of wind, landslide, glacial activity or an earthquake.
Breccia is a rock whose formation can indicate the presence of water. Based on the findings, the formation of breccia is an indication of the presence of a water body at a point in time as the cementation of fragments of rock with a matrix is by the help of an agent that can be a water body. Fragmentation can also be caused by gravity work under severe weather conditions. The assemblage of the breccia by gravity is witnessed in the famous limestone breccias of Gibraltar (Mehl, Jackson & Neuendorf 460). The occurrence of breccia in Mars is also an indication that Mars could have a thermal core due to the possibility of a volcanic eruption to form endolithic breccia.
It is established that breccia indicates that the rock cycle is possible in mars by the conversion of an originally igneous rock into a sedimentary rock. The formation of breccia also happens in an area that has a water body indicating the possibility of having the same at one point. It also shows that Mars contains conditions that could support life as the process of breccia formation is largely controlled by environmental conditions present in Earth. Breccias also contain fossils indicating the possibility of having organisms in Mars at one point. It is possible the presence of breccias is an indication of the possibility that Mars could support life.
Mehl, James P, Julia A. Jackson, and Klaus Neuendorf K.E. Glossary of geology. 5th ed. Alexandria, VA: American Geological Institute, 2013. Print.
ChoquetteP. W., and James N. P. Paleokarst. 3rd Edition New York: Springer, 2012.