DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 36. Mars Surface Posters
Displayed, 9:00am Tuesday - 3:00pm Saturday, Highlighted, Friday, November 30, 2001, 9:00-10:30am, French Market Exhibit Hall

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[36.06] Importance of Surface Texture to Infrared Remote Sensing Interpretations

L. E. Kirkland (Lunar and Planetary Institute), P. M. Adams, K. C. Herr (The Aerospace Corporation), J. W. Salisbury (Johns Hopkins University, retired)

Thermal infrared remote sensing may be used to identify minerals present on the surface using diagnostic spectral bands. As band depth (spectral contrast) exhibited by the mineral increases, the mineral is easier to detect. In order to determine the expected spectral contrast, thermal infrared spectra of typical mineral endmembers are commonly measured in the laboratory. For example, for calcite, well-crystalline limestone is commonly studied. However, carbonates occur in several forms, including thin coatings, indurated carbonate (calcrete), and hot springs deposits. Different formation pathways may cause different microstructures and surface textures. This in turn can also affect the surface texture of the weathered material.

Different surface textures can affect the measured band contrast, through roughness that causes a cavity (hohlraum) effect, and particle size and roughness on a scale that causes volume scattering. Thus since detection limits vary with the spectral contrast, surface texture can be an important variable in how detectable a mineral is.

To study these issues, we have examined limestone and calcrete deposits at Mormon Mesa, Nevada that have two distinctly different microstructures and surface texture [Kirkland et al., 2001]. The limestone studied has larger grains and the grains frequently have flat, smooth surfaces on the order of 10-50 microns in cross-section length. The calcrete has smaller, more angular calcite grains, which exhibit almost no flat surfaces longer than ~5 microns in cross-section length. We will show scanning electron microscope images to compare the different microstructures and surface textures of both the fresh and weathered surfaces, and we will show corresponding thermal infrared spectra to illustrate the different spectral signatures. The results demonstrate the importance of understanding the microstructure of mineral deposits to accurately interpret infrared remote sensing data, especially for studies that lack ground truth. We will discuss implications for remote sensing studies, including for the 1996 Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES).

Reference. Kirkland, L. E. et al., SPIE Vol. 4495 (2001), also at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/science/kirkland/Mesa/spie.htm.

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