Topographic, spectral and thermal inertia analysis of interior layered deposits in Iani Chaos, Mars

E. Sefton-Nash, D. C. Catling, S. E. Wood, P. M. Grindrod, N. A. Teanby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


We present an analysis of Interior Layered Deposits (ILDs) in Iani Chaos using visible, infrared, hyperspectral and topographic datasets acquired by instruments aboard NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA's Mars Express spacecraft. We focus on four main regions where ILDs outcrop in Iani Chaos. Deposits span a similar to 2 km range of elevations and exhibit moderate to high albedos, layering at sub-decameter scales, thermal inertias of 300-800 J m(-2) K-1 s(-1/2) and a range of surface textures. Thermal inertia calculations use slope and azimuth corrections from High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) topography. Spectral features in hyperspectral data acquired by NASA's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) suggest that gypsum (CaSO4 center dot 2H(2)O) and kieserite (MgSO4 center dot H2O) are present in most deposits. We report absorptions typically exhibited by alunite (KAl3(SO4)(2)(OH)(6)) and jarosite (KFe33+(OH)(6)(SO4)(2)) as well as a number of features that may be attributable to a wide range of mono- and polyhydrated sulphates and hydroxyl-sulphates bearing a number of cations, including Mg2+, Fe2+, Fe3+ and Ca2+. Spectral features similar to those of ammonium sulphates may also be present.

Analysis of a HiRISE stereo DEM shows planar layering in some ILDs, favouring a sedimentary deposition origin. Stratigraphic mapping of hydration and sulphate spectral features in flat ILDs in central Iani Chaos suggest that specific elevation intervals in the stratigraphic column were subject to different levels of hydration, perhaps during episodes of water table elevation. This is consistent with formation models for ILDs and hydrological modelling. Geomorphic characteristics of deposits in northern and southern Iani Chaos suggest their relatively recent exhumation and significant erosion by aeolian processes. We conclude that any formation theory for ILDs in Iani Chaos should support mechanisms for different hydration states at different stratigraphic elevations and subsequent significant aeolian erosion, burial and re-exposure. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-42
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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