Visible and near-infrared multispectral analysis of rocks at Meridiani Planum, Mars, by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity

W. H. Farrand, J. F. Bell, J. R. Johnson, B. L. Jolliff, A. H. Knoll, S. M. McLennan, S. W. Squyres, W. M. Calvin, J. P. Grotzinger, R. V. Morris, J. Soderblom, S. D. Thompson, W. A. Watters, A. S. Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Multispectral measurements in the visible and near infrared of rocks at Meridiani Planum by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's Pancam are described. The Pancam multispectral data show that the outcrops of the Burns formation consist of two main spectral units which in stretched 673, 535, 432 nm color composites appear buff- and purple-colored. These units are referred to as the HFS and LFS spectral units based on higher and lower values of 482 to 535 nm slope. Spectral characteristics are consistent with the LFS outcrop consisting of less oxidized, and the HFS outcrop consisting of more oxidized, iron-bearing minerals. The LFS surfaces are not as common and appear, primarily, at the distal ends of outcrop layers and on steep, more massive surfaces, locations that are subject to greater eolian erosion. Consequently, the HFS surfaces are interpreted as a weathering rind. Further inherent spectral differences between layer's and between different outcrop map units, both untouched and patches abraded by the rover's Rock Abrasion Tool, are also described. Comparisons of the spectral parameters of the Meridiani outcrop with a set of laboratory reflectance measurements of Fe3+-bearing minerals show that the field of outcrop measurements plots near the fields of hematite, ferrihydrite, poorly crystalline goethite, and schwertmannite. Rind and fracture fill materials, observed intermittently at outcrop exposures, are intermediate in their spectral character between both the HFS and LFS spectral classes and other, less oxidized, surface materials (basaltic sands, spherules, and cobbles).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE06S02
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 20 2007
Externally publishedYes

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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