Thermal infrared spectroscopy of experimentally shocked anorthosite and pyroxenite: Implications for remote sensing of Mars

Jeffrey R. Johnson, Friedrich Hörz, Paul G. Lucey, Philip Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The feldspar and pyroxene mineralogies on Mars revealed by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) on Mars Global Surveyor likely record a variety of shock effects, as suggested by petrologic analyses of the Martian meteorites and the abundance of impact craters on the planet's surface. To study the effects of shock pressures on thermal infrared spectra of these minerals, we performed shock recovery experiments on orthopyroxenite and anorthosite samples from the Stillwater Complex (Montana) over peak pressures from 17 to 63 GPa. We acquired emissivity and hemispherical reflectance spectra (350-1400 cm-1; ∼7-29 μm) of both coherent chips and fine-grained powders of shocked and unshocked samples. These spectra are more directly comparable to remotely sensed data of Mars (e.g., TES) than previously acquired absorption or transmission spectra of shocked minerals. The spectra of experimentally shocked feldspar show systematic changes with increasing pressure due to depolymerization of the silica tetrahedra. For the spectra of chips, this includes the disappearance of small bands in the 500-650 cm-1 region and a strong band at 1115 cm-1, and changes in positions of a strong band near 940 cm-1 and the Christiansen feature near 1250 cm-1. Spectra of the shocked powders show the gradual disappearance of a transparency feature near 830 cm-1. Fewer changes are observed in the pyroxene spectra at pressures as high as 63 GPa. Spectra of experimentally shocked minerals will help identify more precisely the mineralogy of rocks and soils not only from TES but also from Mars instruments such as miniTES and THEMIS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-1 - 3-14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 25 2002


  • Anorthosite
  • Mars
  • Pyroxenite
  • Remote sensing
  • Shock
  • Spectra
  • Thermal infrared

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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