Spectral units analysis of quadrangle H05-Hokusai on Mercury

1F. Zambon,1C. Carli,2J. Wright,2D. A. Rothery,1F. Altieri,3,4M. Massironi, F. Capaccioni,4G. Cremonese
Journal of Geophysical Research, Planets (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JE006918]
1INAF-Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Via del Fosso del Cavaliere, 100 I-00 133 Rome
2The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA UK
3University of Padua, Department of Geoscience, Via Gradenigo 6, I-35 131 Padua Italy
4INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio, 5, 35 122 Padua Italy
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

MESSENGER mission data allowed the entire surface of Mercury to be mapped at various spatial scales, from both geological and compositional stand points. Here, we present a spectral analysis of the H05-Hokusai quadrangle, using data acquired by the Mercury Dual Imaging System-Wide-Angle Camera. We defined a suitable set of parameters, such as reflectance and spectral slopes, to study the spectral variation though the definition of spectral units. The determination of spectral units permits to infer the physical and compositional properties of a surface by processing several parameters simultaneously, instead of the more traditional approach of interpreting each single parameter separately. We identified 11 spectral units within H05, 6 large scale and 5 localized units. The large scale units include the northern smooth plains of Borealis Planitia. South-western H05 is characterized by two widespread spectral units, partially overlapping intercrater plains and intermediate plains. Furthermore, we found very localized spectral units corresponding to the low-reflectance blue material of Rachmaninoff basin and the high-reflectance red material of Nathair Facula. We investigated the link between spectral units and compositional maps obtained by GRS and XRS, to associate compositional information to the spectral units. We found some spectral units are correlated with Mg and Al variations displayed in the elemental maps. This implies that spectral variations associated to these units are mainly linked with composition rather than terrain maturity and/or grain size effects.

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