The composition of two dune fields, Ogygis Undae and the NE–SW trending dune field in Gale crater (the “Bagnold Dune Field” and “Western Dune Field”), were analyzed using thermal emission spectra from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) and the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). The Gale crater dune field was used as a baseline as other orbital compositional analyses have been conducted, and in situ sampling results will soon be available. Results from unmixing thermal emission spectra showed a spatial variation between feldspar mineral abundances and pyroxene mineral abundances in Ogygis Undae. Other datasets, including nighttime thermal inertia values, also showed variation throughout the dune field. One explanation proposed for this variation is a bimodal distribution of two sand populations. This distribution is seen in some terrestrial dune fields. The two dune fields varied in both mineral types present and in uniformity of composition. These differences point to different source lithologies and different distances travelled from source material. Examining these differences further will allow for a greater understanding of aeolian processes on Mars.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science