Spectral Properties of Martian and other Planetary Glasses and their Detection in Remotely Sensed Data

1Kevin M. Cannon, 1John F. Mustard, 1Stephen W. Parman, 2Elizabeth C. Sklute, 2M. Darby Dyar, 1Reid F. Cooper
Journal of Geophysical Research Planets (in Press) Link to Article [DOI: 10.1002/2016JE005219]
1Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
2Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Thirty silicate glasses were synthesized as realistic analogs to those expected to exist on Mars, the Moon and Mercury. Samples were measured using visible/near-infrared and Mössbauer spectroscopy to determine the effects of varying bulk chemistry, oxygen fugacity, and temperature on spectral properties. For martian glasses, the fO2 during fusion strongly affects absorption band intensities in the spectra, while bulk chemistry has noticeable secondary effects on absorption band positions. Titanium and iron content drive spectral changes in lunar glasses, where Fe3+ is effectively absent. Iron-free Mercury-analog glasses have much higher albedos than all other samples, and their spectral shape is a close match to some pyroclastic deposits on Mercury. Synthetic glass spectra were used as inputs into a spectral unmixing model applied to remote orbital datasets to test for the presence of glass. The model is validated against physical laboratory mixture spectra, as well as previous detections of glass-rich pyroclastic deposits on the Moon. Remote data were then used from suspected impact deposits and possible pyroclastic deposits on Mars as a new application of the model: the results reveal spatially coherent glass-rich material, and the strong spectral match of the synthetic glasses to these remotely sensed data gives new insights into the presence and character of glasses on the martian surface. The large library of glass spectra generated here, acquired from consistently synthesized and measured samples, can serve as a resource for further studies of volcanic and impact processes on planetary bodies.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s