Matching Items (14)

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Assessing martian bedrock mineralogy through "windows" in the dust using near- and thermal infrared remote sensing

Description

Much of Mars' surface is mantled by bright dust, which masks the spectral features used to interpret the mineralogy of the underlying bedrock. Despite the wealth of near-infrared (NIR) and

Much of Mars' surface is mantled by bright dust, which masks the spectral features used to interpret the mineralogy of the underlying bedrock. Despite the wealth of near-infrared (NIR) and thermal infrared data returned from orbiting spacecraft in recent decades, the detailed bedrock composition of approximately half of the martian surface remains relatively unknown due to dust cover. To address this issue, and to help gain a better understanding of the bedrock mineralogy in dusty regions, data from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) Dust Cover Index (DCI) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Mars Color Imager (MARCI) were used to identify 63 small localized areas within the classical bright dusty regions of Arabia Terra, Elysium Planitia, and Tharsis as potential "windows" through the dust; that is, areas where the dust cover is thin enough to permit infrared remote sensing of the underlying bedrock. The bedrock mineralogy of each candidate "window" was inferred using processed spectra from the Mars Express (MEx) Observatoire pour la Mineralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activité (OMEGA) NIR spectrometer and, where possible, TES. 12 areas of interest returned spectra that are consistent with mineral species expected to be present at the regional scale, such as high- and low-calcium pyroxene, olivine, and iron-bearing glass. Distribution maps were created using previously defined index parameters for each species present within an area. High-quality TES spectra, if present within an area of interest, were deconvolved to estimate modal mineralogy and support NIR results. OMEGA data from Arabia Terra and Elysium Planitia are largely similar and indicate the presence of high-calcium pyroxene with significant contributions of glass and olivine, while TES data suggest an intermediate between the established southern highlands and Syrtis Major compositions. Limited data from Tharsis indicate low-calcium pyroxene mixed with lesser amounts of high-calcium pyroxene and perhaps glass. TES data from southern Tharsis correlate well with the previously inferred compositions of the Aonium and Mare Sirenum highlands immediately to the south.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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High-resolution Martian soil thickness derived from yearly surface temperatures

Description

The temperature of a planet's surface depends on numerous physical factors, including thermal inertia, albedo and the degree of insolation. Mars is a good target for thermal measurements because the

The temperature of a planet's surface depends on numerous physical factors, including thermal inertia, albedo and the degree of insolation. Mars is a good target for thermal measurements because the low atmospheric pressure combined with the extreme dryness results in a surface dominated by large differences in thermal inertia, minimizing the effect of other physical properties. Since heat is propagated into the surface during the day and re-radiated at night, surface temperatures are affected by sub-surface properties down to several thermal skin depths. Because of this, orbital surface temperature measurements combined with a computational thermal model can be used to determine sub-surface structure. This technique has previously been applied to estimate the thickness and thermal inertia of soil layers on Mars on a regional scale, but the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System "THEMIS" instrument allows much higher-resolution thermal imagery to be obtained. Using archived THEMIS data and the KRC thermal model, a process has been developed for creating high-resolution maps of Martian soil layer thickness and thermal inertia, allowing investigation of the distribution of dust and sand at a scale of 100 m/pixel.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Wind-driven modification of small bedforms in Gusev Crater, Mars

Description

ABSTRACT

The Spirit landing site in Gusev Crater has been imaged by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera more than thirty times since 2006. The

ABSTRACT

The Spirit landing site in Gusev Crater has been imaged by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera more than thirty times since 2006. The breadth of this image set allowed a study of changes to surface features, covering four Mars years.

Small fields of bedforms comprised of dark material, and dark dust devil tracks are among the features revealed in the images. The bedforms are constrained within craters on the plains, and unconstrained in depressions less than 200m wide within the topography of the Columbia Hills, a ~120m-high structure in center of Gusev. Dust devil tracks appear in many images of the bedforms.

Within the Columbia Hills, three bedform fields approximately 180m2 and composed of fine dark basaltic sand were studied, using five HiRISE images taken from 2006 to 2014. Both bedform crests and the dust devil tracks superimposed on them were evaluated for change to azimuth and length, and for correlation between the features. The linear to slightly sinuous transverse crests ranging from less than 1m to 113m in length and two to three meters in wavelength, are primary bedforms. During the study they shifted as much as 33 degrees in azimuth, and individual crests moved on the surface as much as 0.75m. The greatest changes corresponded to a global dust storm in 2007. Average crest movement was documented at the rate of 0.25m per year. Rather than moving progressively, the crests eventually returned to near their original orientation after the storm. The dust devil tracks, reflecting a more complex wind regime, including vortex development during diurnal heating, maintained predominantly NW-SE orientations but also reflected the effects of the storm.

The observed modifications were neither progressive, nor strictly seasonal. The apparent stability of the bedform geometry over four seasons supports the predictions of the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS): low speed (1-7.5 ms-1), daily alternating winds of relatively equal force. Crest profiles were found to be nearly symmetrical, without slipfaces to indicate a preferential wind direction; this finding also is supported by the MRAMS model.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Advanced Processing of Multispectral Satellite Data for Detecting and Learning Knowledge-based Features of Planetary Surface Anomalies

Description

The marked increase in the inflow of remotely sensed data from satellites have trans- formed the Earth and Space Sciences to a data rich domain creating a rich repository for

The marked increase in the inflow of remotely sensed data from satellites have trans- formed the Earth and Space Sciences to a data rich domain creating a rich repository for domain experts to analyze. These observations shed light on a diverse array of disciplines ranging from monitoring Earth system components to planetary explo- ration by highlighting the expected trend and patterns in the data. However, the complexity of these patterns from local to global scales, coupled with the volume of this ever-growing repository necessitates advanced techniques to sequentially process the datasets to determine the underlying trends. Such techniques essentially model the observations to learn characteristic parameters of data-generating processes and highlight anomalous planetary surface observations to help domain scientists for making informed decisions. The primary challenge in defining such models arises due to the spatio-temporal variability of these processes.

This dissertation introduces models of multispectral satellite observations that sequentially learn the expected trend from the data by extracting salient features of planetary surface observations. The main objectives are to learn the temporal variability for modeling dynamic processes and to build representations of features of interest that is learned over the lifespan of an instrument. The estimated model parameters are then exploited in detecting anomalies due to changes in land surface reflectance as well as novelties in planetary surface landforms. A model switching approach is proposed that allows the selection of the best matched representation given the observations that is designed to account for rate of time-variability in land surface. The estimated parameters are exploited to design a change detector, analyze the separability of change events, and form an expert-guided representation of planetary landforms for prioritizing the retrieval of scientifically relevant observations with both onboard and post-downlink applications.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Degassing processes at persistently active explosive volcanoes

Description

Among volcanic gases, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is by far the most commonly measured. More than a monitoring proxy for volcanic degassing, SO2 has the potential to alter climate patterns.

Among volcanic gases, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is by far the most commonly measured. More than a monitoring proxy for volcanic degassing, SO2 has the potential to alter climate patterns. Persistently active explosive volcanoes are characterized by short explosive bursts, which often occur at periodic intervals numerous times per day, spanning years to decades. SO2 emissions at those volcanoes are poorly constrained, in large part because the current satellite monitoring techniques are unable to detect or quantify plumes of low concentration in the troposphere. Eruption plumes also often show high concentrations of ash and/or aerosols, which further inhibit the detection methods. In this work I focus on quantifying volcanic gas emissions at persistently active explosive volcanoes and their variations over short timescales (minutes to hours), in order to document their contribution to natural SO2 flux as well as investigate the physical processes that control their behavior.

In order to make these measurements, I first develop and assemble a UV ground-based instrument, and validate it against an independently measured source of SO2 at a coal-burning power plant in Arizona. I establish a measurement protocol and demonstrate that the instrument measures SO2 fluxes with < 20 % error. Using the same protocol, I establish a record of the degassing patterns at Semeru volcano (Indonesia), a volcano that has been producing cycles of repeated explosions with periods of minutes to hours for the past several decades. Semeru produces an average of 21-71 tons of SO2 per day, amounting to a yearly output of 8-26 Mt.

Using the Semeru data, along with a 1-D transient numerical model of magma ascent, I test the validity of a model in which a viscous plug at the top of the conduit produces cycles of eruption and gas release. I find that it can be a valid hypothesis to explain the observed patterns of degassing at Semeru. Periodic behavior in such a system occurs for a very narrow range of conditions, for which the mass balance between magma flux and open-system gas escape repeatedly generates a viscous plug, pressurizes the magma beneath the plug, and then explosively disrupts it.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Distribution of windblown sediment in small craters on Mars

Description

Many shallow craters near the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover landing site contain asymmetric deposits of windblown sediments which could indicate the predominant local wind direction at the time of deposition

Many shallow craters near the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover landing site contain asymmetric deposits of windblown sediments which could indicate the predominant local wind direction at the time of deposition or redistribution. Wind tunnel simulations and field studies of terrestrial craters were used to determine trends in deposition as a function of crater morphometry and wind direction. Terrestrial analog field work at the Amboy lava field, Mojave Desert, California, included real-time wind measurements and assessments of active sediment deposition in four small (<100 m) craters. Preliminary results indicate that reverse flow or stagnant wind and deposition on the upwind side of the crater floor occurs in craters with depth-to-diameter (d/D) ratios ≥0.05. Measurements taken within a crater of d/D of ~0.02 do not indicate reverse flow. Therefore, reverse flow is expected to cease within a d/D range of 0.02 to 0.05, resulting in wind movement directly over the crater floor in the downwind direction with no asymmetric sediment deposition. Wind tunnel simulations using six crater models, including a scaled model of a crater from the Amboy lava field, were completed to assess the wind flow in and around craters as a function of crater morphometry (depth, diameter). Reverse flow occurred in craters with d/D ratios ≥0.033, resulting in sediment deposition in the upwind portion of the crater floor. Visual observations of a crater with a d/D of ~0.020 did not indicate reverse flow, similar to the results of field studies; therefore, reverse flow appears to cease within a d/D range of 0.020 to 0.033. Craters with asymmetric aeolian deposits near the Mars Spirit landing site have d/D ratios of 0.034 to 0.076, suggesting that reverse flow occurs in these craters. Thus, the position of windblown sediments in the northwest parts of the crater floors would indicate prevailing winds from the northwest to the southeast, consistent with late afternoon winds as predicted by the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS) circulation model.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Ponds, flows, and ejecta of impact cratering and volcanism: a remote sensing perspective of a dynamic Moon

Description

Both volcanism and impact cratering produce ejecta and associated deposits incorporating a molten rock component. While the heat sources are different (exogenous vs. endogenous), the end results are landforms with

Both volcanism and impact cratering produce ejecta and associated deposits incorporating a molten rock component. While the heat sources are different (exogenous vs. endogenous), the end results are landforms with similar morphologies including ponds and flows of impact melt and lava around the central crater. Ejecta from both impact and volcanic craters can also include a high percentage of melted rock. Using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Narrow Angle Camera (LROC NAC) images, crucial details of these landforms are finally revealed, suggesting a much more dynamic Moon than is generally appreciated. Impact melt ponds and flows at craters as small as several hundred meters in diameter provide empirical evidence of abundant melting during the impact cratering process (much more than was previously thought), and this melt is mobile on the lunar surface for a significant time before solidifying. Enhanced melt deposit occurrences in the lunar highlands (compared to the mare) suggest that porosity, target composition, and pre-existing topography influence melt production and distribution. Comparatively deep impact craters formed in young melt deposits connote a relatively rapid evolution of materials on the lunar surface. On the other end of the spectrum, volcanic eruptions have produced the vast, plains-style mare basalts. However, little was previously known about the details of small-area eruptions and proximal volcanic deposits due to a lack of resolution. High-resolution images reveal key insights into small volcanic cones (0.5-3 km in diameter) that resemble terrestrial cinder cones. The cones comprise inter-layered materials, spatter deposits, and lava flow breaches. The widespread occurrence of the cones in most nearside mare suggests that basaltic eruptions occur from multiple sources in each basin and/or that rootless eruptions are relatively common. Morphologies of small-area volcanic deposits indicate diversity in eruption behavior of lunar basaltic eruptions driven by magmatic volatiles. Finally, models of polar volatile behavior during impact-heating suggest that chemical alteration of minerals in the presence of liquid water is one possible outcome that was previously not thought possible on the Moon.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Amorphous weathering products: evidence for basalt-water interactions and the relevance to paleo-environments on Mars

Description

Amorphous phases are detected over large regions of the Martian surface from orbit and in more localized deposits by rovers on the surface. Amorphous silicates can be primary or secondary

Amorphous phases are detected over large regions of the Martian surface from orbit and in more localized deposits by rovers on the surface. Amorphous silicates can be primary or secondary in origin, both having formed through very different processes, so the unambiguous identification of these phases is important for understanding the geologic history of Mars. Secondary amorphous silicates are poorly understood and underrepresented in spectral libraries because they lack the long-range structural order that makes their crystalline counterparts identifiable in most analytical techniques. Fortunately, even amorphous materials have some degree of short-range order so that distinctions can be made with careful characterization.

Two sets of laboratory experiments were used to produce and characterize amorphous weathering products under probable conditions for the Martian surface, and one global spectral analysis using thermal-infrared (TIR) data from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument was used to constrain variations in amorphous silicates across the Martian surface. The first set of experiments altered crystalline and glassy basalt samples in an open system under strong (pH 1) and moderate (pH 3) acidic conditions. The second set of experiments simulated a current-day Martian weathering scenario involving transient liquid water where basalt glass weathering solutions, formed in circumneutral (pH ~5.5 and 7) conditions, were rapidly evaporated, precipitating amorphous silicates. The samples were characterized using visible and near-infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy, TIR spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and X-ray diffraction (XRD).

All experiments formed amorphous silicate phases that are new to spectral libraries. Moderately acidic alteration experiments produced no visible or spectral evidence of alteration products, whereas exposure of basalt glass to strongly acidic fluids produced silica-rich alteration layers that are spectrally consistent with VNIR and TIR spectra from the circum-polar region of Mars, indicating this region has undergone acidic weathering. Circum-netural pH basalt weathering solution precipitates are consistent with amorphous materials measured by rovers in soil and rock surface samples in Gale and Gusev Craters, suggesting transient water interactions over the last 3 billion years. Global spectral analyses determine that alteration conditions have varied across the Martian surface, and that alteration has been long lasting.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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The Geologic History of the Hypanis Deposit, Mars and Ballistic Modeling of Lunar Impact Ejecta

Description

Water has shaped the surface of Mars, recording previous environments and inspiring the search for extinct life beyond Earth. While conditions on the Martian surface today are not conducive to

Water has shaped the surface of Mars, recording previous environments and inspiring the search for extinct life beyond Earth. While conditions on the Martian surface today are not conducive to the presence of liquid water, ancient erosional and depositional features indicate that this was not always so. Quantifying the regional and global history of water on Mars is crucial to understanding how the planet evolved, where to focus future exploration, and implications for water on Earth.

Many sites on Mars contain layered sedimentary deposits, sinuous valleys with delta shaped deposits, and other indications of large lakes. The Hypanis deposit is a unique endmember in this set of locations as it appears to be the largest ancient river delta identified on the planet, and it appears to have no topographic boundary, implying deposition into a sea. I have used a variety of high-resolution remote sensing techniques and geologic mapping techniques to present a new model of past water activity in the region.

I gathered new orbital observations and computed thermal inertia, albedo, elevation, and spectral properties of the Hypanis deposit. I measured the strike and dip of deposit layers to interpret the sedimentary history. My results indicate that Hypanis was formed in a large calm lacustrine setting. My geomorphic mapping of the deposit and catchment indicates buried volatile-rich sediments erupted through the Chryse basin fill, and may be geological young or ongoing. Collectively, my results complement previous studies that propose a global paleoshoreline, and support interpretations that Mars had an ocean early in its history. Future missions to the Martian surface should consider Hypanis as a high-value sampling opportunity.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Exploring the history of India-Eurasia collision and subsequent deformation in the Indus Basin, NW Indian Himalaya

Description

Understanding the evolution of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen is important because of its purported effects on global geodynamics, geochemistry and climate. It is surprising that the timing of initiation of this

Understanding the evolution of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen is important because of its purported effects on global geodynamics, geochemistry and climate. It is surprising that the timing of initiation of this canonical collisional orogen is poorly constrained, with estimates ranging from Late Cretaceous to Early Oligocene. This study focuses on the Ladakh region in the northwestern Indian Himalaya, where early workers suggested that sedimentary deposits of the Indus Basin molasse sequence, located in the suture zone, preserve a record of the early evolution of orogenesis, including initial collision between India and Eurasia. Recent studies have challenged this interpretation, but resolution of the issue has been hampered by poor accessibility, paucity of robust depositional age constraints, and disputed provenance of many units in the succession. To achieve a better understanding of the stratigraphy of the Indus Basin, multispectral remote sensing image analysis resulted in a new geologic map that is consistent with field observations and previously published datasets, but suggests a substantial revision and simplification of the commonly assumed stratigraphic architecture of the basin. This stratigraphic framework guided a series of new provenance studies, wherein detrital U-Pb geochronology, 40Ar/39Ar and (U-Th)/He thermochronology, and trace-element geochemistry not only discount the hypothesis that collision began in the Early Oligocene, but also demonstrate that both Indian and Eurasian detritus arrived in the basin prior to deposition of the last marine limestone, constraining the age of collision to older than Early Eocene. Detrital (U-Th)/He thermochronology further elucidates the thermal history of the basin. Thus, we constrain backthrusting, thought to be an important mechanism by which Miocene convergence was accommodated, to between 11-7 Ma. Finally, an unprecedented conventional (U-Th)/He thermochronologic dataset was generated from a modern river sand to assess steady state assumptions of the source region. Using these data, the question of the minimum number of dates required for robust interpretation was critically evaluated. The application of a newly developed (U-Th)/He UV-laser-microprobe thermochronologic technique confirmed the results of the conventional dataset. This technique improves the practical utility of detrital mineral (U-Th)/He thermochronology, and will facilitate future studies of this type.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011