Spectral stratigraphy and clay minerals analysis in parts of Hellas Planitia, Mars

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Das, I. C. ; Joseph, J. ; Subramanian, S. K. ; Dadhwal, V. K. (2014)

Absorption features that occur in reflectance spectra are a sensitive indicator of mineralogy and chemical composition for a wide variety of materials. The investigation of the mineralogy and chemical composition of surfaces give information about the origin and evolution of planetary bodies. On Mars, the processes of formation of different types of clay minerals result from different types of wet conditions viz. hydrothermalism, subsurface/groundwater weathering, surface alteration etc. The image analyzed in the present study was frt000947f- 164-trr3 (−27.87N–65.06E). Through the spectral stratigraphic characterization along a crater wall, eight (8) different layers were identified considering the spectral variability and their position. In Hellas Planitia, the alteration minerals identified by CRISM based on distinctive absorptions from 0.4 to3.9 μm include Al-rich smectite, montmorillonite, phyllosilicate mineral at 2.2 μm and 2.35 μm, including strong absorption feature noticed at 1.9 μm. We conclude that the layers exposed in the crater wall help characterize the compositional stratigraphy for confirming the presence of hydrated minerals in this region as an outcome of geohydrological weathering process.
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