Application of microanalytical techniques to the study of primary and secondary minerals in terrestrial and extra-terrestrial rocks

Publication Type:
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Many gaps in the understanding of the Martian regolith still exist. A full understanding of the history of the Martian climate and geology is important for our understanding of the history of the solar system and the evolution of planetary bodies and atmospheres. Two future missions to Mars will send Raman spectrometers to the surface of Mars in a search for biosignatures, signs of life and important minerals which indicate long term liquid water on the surface of the planet. A Raman library has been compiled to complement and add to existing libraries; this library has subsequently been tested against Mars analogue materials: Icelandic tephra and three Australian meteorites. The minerals of these samples were also analysed to understand their original magmatic composition and potential metamorphism using Raman spectroscopy and other established techniques. This library further illustrated the difficulty of obtaining some mineral spectra (clays) that are important to the search for hydrated minerals. Testing of the library reinforced the strength of Raman spectroscopy in identifying constituent minerals of rocks and further inferring their chemistry and metamorphic history. The results of this study further illustrated the need for a dual nature to any 𝘪𝘯-𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘶 research using Raman spectroscopy. The Raman spectrometer was able to detect some minerals that other techniques did not isolate, but the known fluorescence issues created problems when analysing some important minerals. Therefore, it is essential to pair Raman spectroscopy with other techniques such as infrared spectroscopy. Analysis of our meteorite samples indicated that two of the samples originated from a different melt to the other and inferred a different temperature of formation. This knowledge is essential to the understanding of the formation history of the meteorite parent body. We can now constrain the temperature of formation of these meteorites and further work will focus on ascertaining the age of these meteorites through study of the baddeleyite grains found in the Binda meteorite.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: