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Keywords:

  • Mars;
  • mineralogy;
  • infrared

[1] Martian low-albedo surfaces (defined here as surfaces with Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS-TES) albedo values ≤0.15) were reexamined for regional variations in spectral response. Low-albedo regions exhibit spatially coherent variations in spectral character, which in this work are grouped into 11 representative spectral shapes. The use of these spectral shapes in modeling global surface emissivity results in refined distributions of previously determined global spectral unit types (Surface Types 1 and 2). Pure Type 2 surfaces are less extensive than previously thought, and are mostly confined to the northern lowlands. Regional-scale spectral variations are present within areas previously mapped as Surface Type 1 or as a mixture of the two surface types, suggesting variations in mineral abundance among basaltic units. For example, Syrtis Major, which was the Surface Type 1 type locality, is spectrally distinct from terrains that were also previously mapped as Type 1. A spectral difference also exists between southern and northern Acidalia Planitia, which may be due in part to a small amount of dust cover in southern Acidalia. Groups of these spectral shapes can be averaged to produce spectra that are similar to Surface Types 1 and 2, indicating that the originally derived surface types are representative of the average of all low-albedo regions.