Near infrared spectroscopy of HED meteorites: Effects of viewing geometry and compositional variations

O. Ruesch, H. Hiesinger, E. Cloutis, L. Le Corre, J. Kallisch, P. Mann, K. Markus, K. Metzler, A. Nathues, V. Reddy

In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 29 June 2015


The howardite, eucrite and diogenite (HED) meteorites are genetically related and represent the most voluminous group of achondrites. They are the closest analog materials to Vesta and V-type asteroids. Many of these meteorites were the focus of intense petrologic and visible to near infrared spectral studies. As ground-based and orbital observations of basaltic asteroids have increased, an improved understanding of HEDs is needed. For this study, we investigated 24 HED samples, mainly new finds from Northwest Africa (NWA). Visible to near infrared (up to 2.5 μm) spectral measurements under varying illumination and observation geometries were acquired for 4 samples. Phase reddening and bluing (i.e., increase and decrease in spectral slope) is observed for the visible slope as phase angle increase. Monotonic phase reddening can occur for the near infrared slope as phase angle increase. Non-systematic changes with phase angle are found for the band area ratio parameter. At phase angles higher than ∼60°, the decrease of reflectance and decrease of pyroxene bands depth are undistinguishable from admixture of low albedo material to HED samples. To assess the precision of empirical equations relating spectral properties and composition, the pyroxenes, feldspar, and olivine chemistry of the samples was determined. Using previous calibrations, systematic overestimations of the ferrosilite (Fs) and wollastonite (Wo) contents are found, especially in the 15-40 Fs range. To overcome such discrepancies, a new set of empirical equations is proposed. For an application of the new calibration, we selected two compositional end-member areas on Vesta on the basis of their iron content. For the iron-poor terrain we found an average pyroxene composition of Fs30Wo5 and for the iron-rich terrain an average of Fs47Wo14.