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Volcanic Materials in Tyrrhena Patera
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Volcanic Materials in Tyrrhena Patera

Acquired Date: May 23, 2007
Release Date: January 31, 2014
Latitude: 24.37 S
Longitude: 101.43 E
Keywords: Ridges, Mafic minerals, Southern Highlands
Parameters: HCPINDEX2 (High-Calcium Pyroxene), LCPINDEX2 (Low-Calcium Pyroxene), OLINDEX3 (Olivine)

Although much of the excitement in exploring Mars is linked to past water, the vast majority of the planetís crust is unaltered igneous rock. And most of that rock is basalt, the most common type of igneous rock, or some variant of it formed by igneous processes that separate minerals. The colors here show concentrations of different minerals common in igneous rock, that might tell us about those processes. The green/cyan color denotes a variety of a mineral called pyroxene that has an unusually low content of calcium (low-calcium pyroxene, or LCP). Pyroxene is the dominant silicate mineral in most igneous rocks and contains iron, magnesium, and variable amounts of calcium as well as silicon and oxygen. The more common variety of pyroxene on Mars, with a higher content of calcium (high-calcium pyroxene, or HCP), is shown in blue. Rocks rich in the iron-magnesium silicate mineral olivine appear red.



Although much of the excitement in exploring Mars is linked to past water, the vast majority of the planetís crust is unaltered igneous rock. And most of that rock is basalt, the most common type of igneous rock, or some variant of it formed by igneous processes that separate minerals. The colors here show concentrations of different minerals common in igneous rock, that might tell us about those processes. The green/cyan color denotes a variety of a mineral called pyroxene that has an unusually low content of calcium (low-calcium pyroxene, or LCP). Pyroxene is the dominant silicate mineral in most igneous rocks and contains iron, magnesium, and variable amounts of calcium as well as silicon and oxygen. The more common variety of pyroxene on Mars, with a higher content of calcium (high-calcium pyroxene, or HCP), is shown in blue. Rocks rich in the iron-magnesium silicate mineral olivine appear red.

LCP-rich rocks only occur in the most ancient terrains on Mars. Volcanic material with this mineralogy suggests that ancient mantle sources that fed early Martian volcanism had low contents of calcium. LCP-rich rocks are now exposed in walls of ancient valleys and in craters (shown here), that have exhumed below the kilometers-thick cover of younger rocks.

Link to further description of the spectral parameters shown in this image can be found here.

Disclaimer: Colors shown here represent indicators of mineralogy and are not what the human eye would see.

Acknowledgements: THEMIS, MOLA, CRISM, Google Earth.

The Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) is one of six science instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Led by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the CRISM team includes expertise from universities, government agencies and small businesses in the United States and abroad.

CRISM's mission: Find the spectral fingerprints of aqueous and hydrothermal deposits and map the geology, composition and stratigraphy of surface features. The instrument also tracks seasonal variations in dust and ice aerosols in the Martian atmosphere, and water content in surface materials — leading to new understanding of the climate.

Credit: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL

   

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