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Alteration products -- oxides & hydroxides


Mars presently has an oxidizing (mainly CO2) atmosphere and may have had considerable surface and atmospheric water in the past. Therefore, sedimentary rocks, hydrothermal deposits, and mineral products of oxidation and aqueous alteration of original igneous rocks may be common on the Martian surface. Iron oxides and iron hydroxides are anticipated to exist on Mars, and are probably the main reason for the planet's red color. These minerals have characteristic spectral patterns that enable the identification of these phases.   The Raman spectra below were obtained from possible Martian alteration minerals.

Fe-oxides and Fe-hydroxides

some clays and a sulfate

Fe_oxide_1.gif (14175 bytes) fe_oxide_2.gif (15479 bytes)

Reference: Wang A., Haskin L. A., Jolliff B. L., “Characterization of mineral products of oxidation and hydration by laser Raman spectroscopy – implications for in situ petrologic investigation on the surface of Mars”, Twenty-ninth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 1998.

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