Candidates source regions of Martian Meteorites as identified by OMEGA/MEx

A. Ody, F. Poulet, C. Quantin, J.-P. Bibring, J.L. Bishop, M.D. Dyar

In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 25 May 2015


The objective of this study is to identify and map spectral analogues of some key Martian meteorites (basaltic shergottites Los Angeles, Shergotty, QUE 94201, lherzolitic shergottite ALH A77005, Nakhla, Chassigny and the orthopyroxenite ALH 84001) in order to localize terrain candidates for their source regions. We develop a best fit procedure to reproduce the near-infrared (NIR) spectral properties of the Martian surface as seen by the hyperspectral imaging spectrometer OMEGA/MEx from the NIR spectra of the Martian meteorites. The fitting process is tested and validated, and Root Mean Square (RMS) global maps for each meteorite are obtained. It is found that basaltic shergottites have NIR spectral properties the most representative of the Martian surface with best spectral analogues found in early Hesperian volcanic provinces. Sites with spectral properties similar to those of ALH A77005 are scarce. They are mainly localized in olivine-bearing regions such as Nili Fossae and small Noachian/early Hesperian terrains. The only plausible source region candidate for Chassigny is the Nili Patera caldera dated to 1.6Ga. Widespread spectral analogues for the ALH 84001 meteorite are found northeast of Syrtis major and northwest of the Hellas basin. While this distribution is in agreement with the low-calcium-pyroxene-rich composition and old age (4.1 Ga) of this meteorite, the modal mineralogy of these candidates is not consistent with that of this meteorite. No convincing spectral analogue is found for the Amazonian-aged Nakhla meteorite suggesting that its olivine/high-calcium-pyroxene-rich composition could be representative of the Amazonian terrains buried under dust. Finally, some young rayed craters are proposed as possible candidate for source crater of the studied Martian meteorites.