The University of Arizona

Searching for the source regions of martian meteorites using MGS TES: Integrating martian meteorites into the global distribution of igneous materials on Mars

V. E. Hamilton, P. R. Christensen, H. Y., McSween, J. L. Bandfield


The objective of this study was to identify and map possible source regions for all 5 known martian meteorite lithologies (basalt, lherzolite, clinopyroxenite, orthopyroxenite, and dunite) using data from the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS TES). We deconvolved the TES data set using laboratory spectra of 6 martian meteorites (Los Angeles, Zagami, ALH A77005, Nakhla, ALH 84001, and Chassigny) as end members, along with atmospheric and surface spectra previously derived from TES data. Global maps (16 pixels/degree) of the distribution of each meteorite end member show that meteorite-like compositions are not present at or above TES detectability limits over most of the planet's dust-free regions. However, we have confidently identified local-scale (100s1000s km2) concentrations of olivine- and orthopyroxene-bearing materials similar to ALH A77005, Chassigny, and ALH 84001 in Nili Fossae, in and near Ganges Chasma, in the Argyre and Hellas basin rims, and in Eos Chasma. Nakhla-like materials are identified near the detection limit throughout the eastern Valles Marineris region and portions of Syrtis Major. Basaltic shergottites were not detected in any spatially coherent areas at the scale of this study. Martian meteorite-like lithologies represent only a minor portion of the dust-free surface and, thus, are not representative of the bulk composition of the ancient crust. Meteorite-like spectral signatures identified above TES detectability limits in more spatially restricted areas (<tens of km) are targets of ongoing analysis.


Mars;Olivine;Thermal emission spectroscopy;Martian (SNC) meteorites

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