Remote methods for detection of hydrothermal activity in Mars Analogue regions, an example from the Mt. Painter Inlier, northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Adrian Brown1, Michael West2 and Matilda Thomas1

1. Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University, NSW

2.  School of Geosciences or the School of Aerospace, Mechanical &
  Mechatronic Engineering, University of Sydney, NSW

--- Abstract ---

Abstract: The mapping of large scale hydrothermal systems presents difficulties of scale and scope to the individual researcher on the ground. In a Martian environment, the scientist on the ground will be guided by an extensive array of remote datasets currently being collected by such instruments as the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS-TES) and Gamma Ray Spectrometer (MO-GRS) . Future missions will involve hyperspectral VNIR spectrometry (CRISM) . Experience in applying these types of remote datasets to Earth bound problems will assist the future Martian explorers by formulating techniques and best practices to capitalize on the strengths of each particular dataset type.

During Expedition II, a variety of remote mapping techniques will be bought to bear on resolving the problem of mapping hydrothermal alteration in the Mt. Painter district near Arkaroola. Remote mapping of alteration mineralogy will be compared with established geological mapping to place the hydrothermal events in a geological context and timeframe. Attempts will be made to identify relationships with stromatolite horizons in the area, in order to understand whether they are related to palaeo-hydrothermal sites.

This report details the background research that has been conducted in preparation for field mapping. Reduction of ASTER, LANDSAT and HyMap datasets will be reported, and sites for further investigation will be highlighted.

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