Dataset Information


Tracing Carbonate Formation, Serpentinization, and Biological Materials With Micro‐/Meso‐Scale Infrared Imaging Spectroscopy in a Mars Analog System, Samail Ophiolite, Oman

ABSTRACT: Abstract Visible‐shortwave infrared (VSWIR) imaging spectrometers map composition remotely with spatial context, typically at many meters‐scale from orbital and airborne data. Here, we evaluate VSWIR imaging spectroscopy capabilities at centimeters to sub‐millimeter scale at the Samail Ophiolite, Oman, where mafic and ultramafic lithologies and their alteration products, including serpentine and carbonates, are exposed in a semi‐arid environment, analogous to similar mineral associations observed from Mars orbit that will be explored by the Mars‐2020 rover. At outcrop and hand specimen scales, VSWIR spectroscopy (a) identifies cross‐cutting veins of calcite, dolomite, magnesite, serpentine, and chlorite that record pathways and time‐order of multiple alteration events of changing fluid composition; (b) detects small‐scale, partially altered remnant pyroxenes and localized epidote and prehnite that indicate protolith composition and temperatures and pressures of multiple generations of faulting and alteration, respectively; and (c) discriminates between spectrally similar carbonate and serpentine phases and carbonate solid solutions. In natural magnesite veins, minor amounts of ferrous iron can appear similar to olivine's strong 1‐μm absorption, though no olivine is present. We also find that mineral identification for carbonate and serpentine in mixtures with each other is strongly scale‐ and texture‐dependent; ∼40 area% dolomite in mm‐scale veins at one serpentinite outcrop and ∼18 area% serpentine in a calcite‐rich travertine outcrop are not discriminated until spatial scales of <∼1–2 cm/pixel. We found biological materials, for example bacterial mats versus vascular plants, are differentiated using wavelengths <1 μm while shortwave infrared wavelengths >1 μm are required to identify most organic materials and distinguish most mineral phases. Key Points Meso‐to micro‐scale imaging spectroscopy identifies and maps carbonates, serpentine, and other hydrothermal phases in the Oman ophiolite Pigmentation from multiple types of biological materials including mats in travertine springs are distinguished even in shallow waters Detection thresholds of carbonate and serpentine when mixed can be >20area%, which has implications for interpretation of planetary data

PROVIDER: S-EPMC8596454 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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