Bright and dark regions on Mars: Particle size and mineralogical characteristics based on thermal emission spectrometer data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

234 Scopus citations

Abstract

Emissivity spectra (1670-200 cm-1) from the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS-TES) show significant differences between bright and dark surfaces, allowing further investigation of their physical and mineralogical character. TES spectra from bright surfaces (albedo ≥0.2) typically show lower emissivity at high wavenumbers (>1300 cm-1) than that of dark surfaces (albedo <0.2. The opposite behavior is evident in the low wavenumbers (<560 cm-1, where bright surfaces have higher emissivity than dark ones. These trends are consistent with the spectral behavior of silicate materials of varying particle size. The short wavelength feature displayed by TES spectra of bright surfaces is a relatively strong absorption that likely is the result of particle size effects of surface silicate particles ≪100 μm in size. A dust cover index (DCI) is developed that exploits this short wavelength feature, serving to identify surfaces that range from dust-covered to dust-free. As a gauge of surface-obscuring silicate dust that can impact spectral measurements, the DCI is more direct than thermal inertia or albedo measurements. Spectral ratio analysis using emissivity spectra from adjacent bright and dark surfaces is explored as a means of deriving the mineralogy of surface dust. The result shows that the dust is dominated by silicate minerals with indication of a significant plagioclase feldspar component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-11
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Volume107
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 25 2002

Keywords

  • Albedo
  • Dust
  • Infrared
  • Mars
  • TES

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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