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Determining the composition of olivine on asteroidal surfacesOlivine was remotely identified as a major component on many S- and A-type asteroids based on qualitative analyses of broad absorption features near 1.0 micron in their telescopic reflectance spectra. Laboratory studies showed that this diagnostic olivine absorption feature is composed of three individual absorption bands resulting from electronic transitions of Fe(+2) in distorted M1 and M2 sites. Both the overall absorption feature and each of the individual absorption bands are also known to vary systematically as a function of olivine composition. Thus, it should be possible to remotely determine the composition of olivine present on the surfaces of the various olivine-rich asteroids. However, extrapolation of laboratory studies to compositional interpretation of asteroid spectra is complicated by several factors: observational noise; lower spectral resolution; compositional heterogeneities (including the presence of other phases such as pyroxenes and/or metal); and the effects of alteration processes. In order to address such complex problems, a quantitative approach to spectral analysis, the modified Gaussian model (MGM) was developed by Sunshine et al., which deconvolves spectra into their constituent absorption bands. The MGM, a refinement of the Gaussian model, more accurately adheres to the physical processes involved in electronic transition absorptions. Under the MGM, each spectrum is modeled in log reflectance and energy as a sum of absorption bands superimposed onto a baseline or continuum. Each absorption band is described by three model parameters (center, width, and strength) which can be interpreted and used to infer composition. One of the strengths of the MGM is that it allows compositional information to be extracted directly from measured spectra and is therefore complementary to other approaches to modeling asteroid spectra which require the use of meteorites and/or terrestrial samples as spectral analogs. A quantitative understanding of the properties of olivine absorptions was established by using the MGM to analyze a laboratory suite of spectra spanning a full range of olivine compositions.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Sunshine, Jessica M. (Brown Univ. Providence, RI, United States)
Pieters, Carle M. (Brown Univ. Providence, RI, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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