Remotely sensed reflectance spectra contain information on mineral identities, grain sizes, and abundances. This thesis consists of analysis of such spectra for two planetary objects, Callisto and Mars. Theoretical modeling of telescopic spectra of Callisto indicates that the surface consists of 20 to 45 wt% water ice at large grain sizes. In the spectral region beyond 3 μm absorption by hydrated mineral phases is dominant. The non-ice material is spectrally similar to hydrous alteration minerals that are commonly found in certain petrologic types of meteorites. New high-resolution data of Callisto are consistent with the findings of the modeling study. In addition, these new data have identified the presence of a small amount of fine-grained water ice on the leading hemisphere, through a characteristic absorption near 3.4 mum. Variations in the depth of this absorption feature indicate dynamic competition between processes which create and erode fine -grained water ice. Calibration and analysis of spectrometer data from the Mariner 6 and 7 space-craft has provided new information regarding the mineralogy of Mars. Laboratory measurements and theoretical calculations of CO_2 frosts have allowed an analysis of spectra taken over the martian south polar cap. The grain sizes in the seasonal cap are quite large and there may be evidence of contamination by water frost or dust. Analysis of Mariner spectra in non-polar regions have tentatively identified absorption features near 2.76 μm and 5.4 mum. The location of these features, and other absorptions identified from terrestrial observations, are consistent with the spectra of hydrous magnesium carbonates. The hydrous carbonates do not have strong spectral features typically associated with carbonates. Theoretical calculations of mixtures indicates that 10-30wt% of these minerals can be included and still be consistent with spectral observations. These minerals form on earth through weathering of mafic minerals with the production of amorphous iron oxides as byproducts, consistent with both present and inferred past martian environments. The presence of hydrous carbonates can provide a mechanism for having abundant carbonates on Mars while spectral searches for (anhydrous) carbonates will not find any evidence for them.
- Pub Date:
- February 1991
- Geophysics, Physics: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mineralogy