Observations of rock spectral classes by the Opportunity rover's Pancam on northern Cape York and on Matijevic Hill, Endeavour Crater, Mars

W. H. Farrand, James Bell, J. R. Johnson, M. S. Rice, B. L. Jolliff, R. E. Arvidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The Opportunity rover's exploration of the portion of the rim of Endeavour crater known as Cape York included examination of the sulfate-bearing Grasberg formation and the Matijevic Hill region. Multispectral visible and near-infrared (VNIR) Pancam observations were used to characterize reflectance properties of rock units. Using spectral end-member detection and classification approaches including a principal components/n-dimensional visualization, automatic sequential maximum angle convex cone method, and classification through hierarchical clustering, six main spectral classes of rock surfaces were identified: light-toned veins, Grasberg fm., the smectite-bearing Matijevic formation, the hematitic "blueberry" spherules, resistant spherules within the Matijevic fm. dubbed "newberries," and the Shoemaker formation impact breccia. Some of these could be divided into spectral subclasses. There were three types of veins: veins in the bench unit of Cape York, thinner veins in the Matijevic fm., and boxwork pattern-forming veins. The bench unit veins had higher 535 nm band depths than the other two vein subclasses and a steeper 934 to 1009 nm slope. The Grasberg fm. has VNIR spectral features that are interpreted to indicate higher fractions of red hematite than in the sulfate-bearing Burns Fm. The Matijevic fm. includes both light-toned, fine-grained matrix, and dark-toned veneers. The latter has a weak near-infrared absorption band centered near 950 nm consistent with nontronite. Observations of Rock Abrasion Tool brushed and ground newberries indicated that cuttings from the RAT grind had a longer wavelength reflectance maximum and deeper 535 nm band depth, consistent with more oxidized materials. Greater oxidation of cementing materials in the newberries is consistent with a diagenetic concretion origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2349-2369
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Mars
  • remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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