Evidence for platy hematite grains in Sinus Meridiani, Mars

Melissa D. Lane, Richard V. Morris, Stanley A. Mertzman, Philip Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Midinfrared (∼1600-200 cm-1) spectral data received from the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS TES) have provided evidence for a large hematite-bearing (α-Fe2O3 deposit in Sinus Meridiani, Mars. We report here the results of a laboratory spectroscopic investigation of 24 hematite samples, including polycrystalline hand samples (massive and schistose textures), single-crystal hand samples, and particle-size fractions (single-crystal and polycrystalline discrete particles). Laboratory midinfrared analyses of crystallographically oriented hematite samples suggest that the hematite emission in Sinus Meridiani (SM) is predominantly from the crystallographic c-face of hematite. This observation implies the presence of platy hematite particles, with the plate face being the crystallographic c-face. The observations are consistent with a formational model where the platy, gray hematite originated as an iron-oxide, chemically precipitated from Fe-rich aqueous and/or hydrothermal solutions on early Mars, that was buried, recrystallized to platy hematite, and subsequently reexposed as lenses of schistose hematite in a friable, consolidated stratigraphic unit. Unconsolidated platy hematite particles are also likely to be present as a physical-weathering product of the schistose hematite lenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-1 - 9-15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 25 2002


  • Hematite
  • Infrared
  • Mars
  • Platy hematite
  • Sinus Meridiani
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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