Global distribution, composition, and abundance of olivine on the surface of Mars from thermal infrared data

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Abstract

[1] We used spectral indexing and linear deconvolution to compare thermal infrared emission spectra of Fo91, Fo68, Fo53, Fo39, Fo18, and Fo1 olivine samples to Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) data over low-albedo regions of Mars. The Fo91, Fo68, Fo53, and Fo39 spectral end-members were confidently identified on Mars, a range of compositions wider than inferred from Martian meteorites. Small (less than hundreds of square kilometers) occurrences of the Fo91 spectral end-member are present in the rims of the Argyre and Hellas impact basins and may represent Martian mantle materials. The Fo68 spectral end-member is common throughout the highlands, chasmata, outflow channels, and Nili Fossae region. The Fo53 spectral end-member occurs in eastern Syrtis Major, the Nili Fossae region, and smooth-floored craters of the highlands. Although less abundant than Fo68 and Fo53, the distribution of the Fo39 spectral end-member suggests that some olivine on Mars is more Fe-rich than olivine in Martian meteorites. Global maps of olivine show that (1) materials containing 10–20% of olivine are common in the southern highlands of Mars, (2) olivine is most common near the topographic dichotomy boundary, and (3) olivine becomes uncommon near the poles suggesting that it may be influenced by topography and/or latitude (climate). Olivine is found in early Noachian to Amazonian terrains, some of which may be coeval with phyllosilicate and sulfate deposits detected by OMEGA implying that any early Noachian wet period of Mars' climate history may have been globally inhomogeneous or insufficient to weather the olivine that remains today.

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