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A new model for Mars atmospheric dust based upon analysis of ultraviolet through infrared observations from Mariner 9, Viking, and PhobosWe propose key modifications to the Toon et al. (1977) model of the particle size distribution and composition of Mars atmospheric dust, based on a variety of spacecraft and wavelength observations of the dust. A much broader (r(sub eff)variance-0.8 micron), smaller particle size (r(sub mode)-0.02 microns) distribution coupled with a "palagonite-like" composition is argued to fit the complete ultraviolet-to-30-micron absorption properties of the dust better than the montmorillonite-basalt r(sub eff)variance= 0.4 micron, r(sub mode)= 0.40 micron dust model of Toon et al. Mariner 9 (infrared interferometer spectrometer) IRIS spectra of high atmospheric dust opacities during the 1971 - 1972 Mars global dust storm are analyzed in terms of the Toon et al. dust model, and a Hawaiian palagonite sample with two different size distribution models incorporating smaller dust particle sizes. Viking Infrared Thermal Mapper (IRTM) emission-phase-function (EPF) observations at 9 microns are analyzed to retrieve 9-micron dust opacities coincident with solar band dust opacities obtained from the same EPF sequences. These EPF dust opacities provide an independent measurement of the visible/9-microns extinction opacity ratio (> or equal to 2) for Mars atmospheric dust, which is consistent with a previous measurement by Martin (1986). Model values for the visible/9-microns opacity ratio and the ultraviolet and visible single-scattering albedos are calculated for the palagonite model with the smaller particle size distributions and compared to the same properties for the Toon et al. model of dust. The montmorillonite model of the dust is found to fit the detailed shape of the dust 9-micron absorption well. However, it predicts structured, deep absorptions at 20 microns which are not observed and requires a separate ultraviolet-visible absorbing component to match the observed behavior of the dust in this wavelength region. The modeled palagonite does not match the 8- to 9-micron absorption presented by the dust in the IRIS spectra, probably due to its low SiO2 content (31%). However, it does provide consistent levels of ultraviolet/visible absorption, 9- to 12-micron absorption, and a lack of structured absorption at 20 microns. The ratios of dust extinction opacities at visible, 9 microns, and 30 microns are strongly affected by the dust particle size distribution. The Toon et al. dust size distribution (r(sub mode)= 0.40, r(sub eff)variance= 0.4 microns, r(sub cw mu)= 2.7 microns) predicts the correct ratio of the 9- to 30-micron opacity, but underpredicts the visible/9-micron opacity ratio considerably (1 versus > or equal to 2). A similar particle distribution width with smaller particle sizes (r(sub mode)= 0.17, r(sub eff)variance= 0.4 microns, r(sub cw mu)=1.2 microns) will fit the observed visible/9-micron opacity ratio, but overpredicts the observed 9-micron/30-micron opacity ratio. A smaller and much broader particle size distribution (r(sub mode)= 0.02, r(sub eff)variance= 0.8 microns, r(sub cw mu)= 1.8 microns) can fit both dust opacity ratios. Overall, the nanocrystalline structure of palagonite coupled with a smaller, broader distribution of dust particle sizes provides a more consistent fit than the Toon et al. model of the dust to the IRIS spectra, the observed visible/9-micron dust opacity ratio, the Phobos occultation measurements of dust particle sizes, and the weakness of surface near IR absorptions expected for clay minerals.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Clancy, R. T. (Space Science Inst. Boulder, CO United States)
Lee, S. W. (Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO United States)
Gladstone, G. R. (Southwest Research Inst. San Antonio, TX United States)
McMillan, W. W. (San Francisco State Univ. CA United States)
Rousch, T. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 18, 2013
Publication Date
March 25, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: MSATT
Volume: 100
Issue: E3
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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