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Komatiites as Mercury surface analogues: Spectral measurements at PEL

Maturilli, Alessandro and Helbert, Jörn and St. John, J. and Head, J.W. and Vaughan, W.M. and D'Amore, Mario and Gottschalk, M. and Ferrari, Sabrina (2014) Komatiites as Mercury surface analogues: Spectral measurements at PEL. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 398, pp. 58-65. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.04.035 ISSN 0012-821X

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The elemental composition of Mercury's surface, which has been recently measured by the NASA MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, suggests a mineralogy dominated by magnesium-rich orthopyroxene and feldspar. The most magnesium-rich and aluminium-poor regions of Mercury's surface (which are presumably orthopyroxene-rich) have compositions, and possibly mineralogies, analogous to terrestrial boninites and basaltic komatiites. Unfortunately, little is known about the spectral properties of komatiites, especially at the high surface temperatures of Mercury. We therefore have collected three terrestrial komatiites with different compositions plus a synthetic komatiitic sample, and measured their reflectances in the visible and thermal infrared spectral ranges. Samples divided into four grain size ranges (when enough material was available) were measured fresh and after thermal processing in vacuum (10 Pa) at 500 °C, comparable to Mercury peak surface temperatures. Our measurements show that spectral changes between fresh and thermally processed samples occur in both spectral channels, but are stronger in the visible range, with reddening affecting all the samples, while darkening is more selective. It is important to note that darkening and reddening after thermally processing the samples are independent of the komatiites ferrous iron content. In fact the synthetic sample which is nearly iron-free is most strongly affected. From our study it turns out that thermally processing the samples in vacuum at Mercury surface temperature produces the removal of samples' colour centres. The results of our study show also that the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) instrument on MESSENGER orbiting Mercury currently cannot distinguish between different compositions of komatiites, while the future MErcury Radiometer and Thermal infrared Imaging Spectrometer (MERTIS) on the upcoming ESA BepiColombo mission will resolve their differences in the 7-14 μm spectral range.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/93519/
Document Type:Article
Title:Komatiites as Mercury surface analogues: Spectral measurements at PEL
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Maturilli, AlessandroAlessandro.Maturilli (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Helbert, JörnJoern.Helbert (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5346-9505
St. John, J.School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University at Newark, Newark, OH 43055, USAUNSPECIFIED
Head, J.W.Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USAUNSPECIFIED
Vaughan, W.M.Brown UniversityUNSPECIFIED
D'Amore, MarioMario.DAmore (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-9325-6889
Gottschalk, M.gottschalk (at) gfz-potsdam.deUNSPECIFIED
Ferrari, Sabrinasabrina.ferrari (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:July 2014
Journal or Publication Title:Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1016/j.epsl.2014.04.035
Page Range:pp. 58-65
Keywords:Mercury spectroscopy surfaceanalogues
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben BepiColombo (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Experimentelle Planetenphysik
Deposited By: Maturilli, Alessandro
Deposited On:16 Dec 2014 09:48
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 19:50

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