Title of Presentation: Are Mountain-forming Rocks of Thaumasia  Highlands, Mars, other than Basalt/Basaltic Andesite?:  Machine Learning-based Evaluation of TES Data and Implications on Early Evolution of Mars

Primary (Corresponding) Author: J.M. Dohm

Organization of Primary Author: University of Arizona

Co-Authors: J.B. Dalton, L. Scharenbroichd, R. Wange,  T.M. Hare, R. Castano, V.R. Baker 


Abstract:  Do the mountain building rocks of the ancient Thaumasia highlands mountain range differ from the basalt-basaltic andesite compositions inferred for much of Mars?  Distinct characteristics of the mountain range include magnetic signatures, complex tectonic structures, cuestas, hog backs, and valley networks (characteristics similar to the mountain ranges of Earth), revealed through Viking, Mars Odyssey (MO), and Mars  Global Surveyor (MGS) information. We have applied Machine Learning and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques to published geologic and Thermal  Emission Spectrometer (TES) hyperspectral image cube information.  When compared to the ancient mountain-forming materials, the younger plains-forming materials record a different TES emissivity signature.  This finding is consistent with Viking-era,  geological mapping-based interpretations that the mountain-forming materials could be  comprised of a diversity of rock types. These include ancient highly eroded and geochemically altered crystalline igneous and/or metamorphic rocks that generally underlie sedimentary rock sequences (including aeolian, fluvial, alluvial, and colluvial  deposits), known as basement complex. In contrast, the plains-forming materials are mostly volcanic.  Here, we describe one of the ancient mountain ranges of Mars, Thaumasia highlands, the importance of determining its composition, a useful Machine  Learning approach that may help improve our understanding of Mars’ geology, the significance of the mountain ranges to unraveling the early evolutionary phases of Mars,  and a rationale for continued investigation of such ancient features of Mars through  MGS, MO, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and future science-driven  reconnaissance missions.