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Mineralogical Analyses of Basaltic Dune Sands from Ka’u Desert (Hawaii) - Comparison with Martian Dark Dunes

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  • Planetengeologie
  • Chemistry


Mineralogical Analyses of Basaltic Dune Sands from Ka’u Desert (Hawaii) - Comparison with Martian Dark Dunes D. Tirsch (1), R. A. Craddock (2), A. Maturilli (1), T. Platz (3), D. Spengler (4), J. Helbert (1) and R. Jaumann (1,3) (1) Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Berlin, Germany (2) Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. (3) Institute of Geological Sciences, Free University Berlin, Berlin, Germany (4) Section 1.4 Remote Sensing, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany. ([email protected] / Fax: +49-30-67055402) Abstract Samples of tephra collected in Hawaii’s Ka’u Desert are investigated by means of different laboratory meth- ods in order to examine their detailed mineral assem- blages and chemistries. The analyses involve spectral, microscopic, and microporobe investigations. Spectral analyses reveal similar mineral assemblages as Mar- tian dark dunes pointing to a similar volcanic origin of the material. 1. Introduction Dark basaltic dunes are the dominant of aeolian bed- forms on Mars. On Earth basaltic dunes occur in the vicinity of volcanic regions such as Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, and the western United States [1]. Due to the correlation of volcanic processes and dune de- velopment, the terrestrial dark dunes are promising study objects as analogue for Martian dark dunes as the latter are supposed to consist of ancient volcanic ashes (e.g. [2]). We want to determine (i) if the dune sands originate from the stripping of Keanakakoi tephra or from local reworked tephra emplaced by larger phreatic eruptions, (ii) the change of grain size and composition with transport distance, and (iii) the material’s transport mechanisms (i.e. fluvial and/or ae- olian) [3]. The results will be used for an analogy stud- ies between dark dune sands on Mars and Earth which aims to shed light on the sediment source, transport mechanism, and dev

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