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Global maps of anhydrous minerals at the surface of Mars from OMEGA/MEx

Global maps of anhydrous minerals at the surface of Mars from OMEGA/MEx

Publication date: 21 September 2012

Authors: A. Ody et al.

Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Volume: 117
Issue: E11
Year: 2012

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

We here reassess the global distribution of several key mineral species using the entire OMEGA/Mars Express VIS-NIR imaging spectrometer data set, acquired from orbit insertion in January 2004 to August 2010. Thirty-two pixels per degree global maps of ferric oxides, pyroxenes and olivines have been derived. A significant filtering process was applied in order to exclude data acquired with unfavorable observation geometries or partial surface coverage with water and CO2 frosts. Because of strong atmospheric variations over the 3.6 Martian years of observations primarily due to the interannual variability of the aerosol opacity, a new filter based on the atmospheric dust opacity calibrated by the Mars Exploration Rovers measurements has also been implemented. The Fe3+ absorption features are present everywhere on the surface, with a variety of intensities indicating distinct formation processes. The pyroxene-bearing regions are localized in low albedo regions, while the bright regions are spectrally comparable to anhydrous nanophase ferric oxides. The expanded data set increases by a factor of about 2, the number of olivine detections reported in previous OMEGA-based studies. Olivine is mainly detected in three types of areas over the Martian surface: discontinuous patches on the terraces of the three main basins; smooth inter-crater plains and smooth crater floors throughout the southern highlands; and crater sand dunes, crater ejectas and extended bedrock exposures in the northern plains. Olivine is also detected in the low albedo pyroxene-bearing dunes surrounding the northern polar cap.

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