Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Earth & Planetary Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



We apply orbital remote sensing of Mars to analyze the mineralogy and geologic setting of two areas near rover landing sites. We use the Compact Reconnaissance Orbiter for Mars (CRISM) observations, modeled to single scattering albedo, to identify and map hydrated sulfates in layered sedimentary sequences in these two locations. In Meridiani Planum, the Opportunity rover has characterized a ~10 m section of sulfate-bearing deposits known as the Burns formation. At our study area in ~20 km to the south at Iazu Crater, we found that the crater walls have strong spectral signatures of polyhydrated sulfate, strongly correlated with a >100 m exposure of strata containing repeated dark and light banding. We use similar CRISM techniques to map a thick section of layered sulfate-bearing strata in Gale Crater, within its central mound, Mt. Sharp. The Curiosity rover will likely visit these areas and our detailed assessments will then be used to guide the rover team in choosing specific sites for upcoming traverses. To assist this study and others we deploy a neural network technique to separate reflectance and thermal contributions to CRISM I/F data, deriving temperatures and single scattering albedo spectra from 0.4-4 micrometers for each pixel.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Raymond E. Arvidson

Committee Members

Jeffrey G. Catalano, Bradley L. Jolliff, Joseph A. O'Sullivan, Douglas A. Wiens,


Permanent URL: 2020-08-23

Included in

Geology Commons