Assessing the role of clay and salts on the origin of MARSIS basal bright reflections

Article


Mattei, Elisabetta, Pettinelli, Elena, Lauro, Sebastian Emanue, Stillman, David E., Cosciotti, Barbara, Marinangeli, Lucia, Tangari, Anna Chiara, Soldovieri, Francesco, Orosei, Roberto and Caprarelli, Graziella. 2022. "Assessing the role of clay and salts on the origin of MARSIS basal bright reflections." Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 579. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2022.117370
Article Title

Assessing the role of clay and salts on the origin of MARSIS basal bright reflections

ERA Journal ID1869
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMattei, Elisabetta, Pettinelli, Elena, Lauro, Sebastian Emanue, Stillman, David E., Cosciotti, Barbara, Marinangeli, Lucia, Tangari, Anna Chiara, Soldovieri, Francesco, Orosei, Roberto and Caprarelli, Graziella
Journal TitleEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Journal Citation579
Article Number117370
Number of Pages11
Year2022
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationNetherlands
ISSN0012-821X
1385-013X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2022.117370
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X22000061
Abstract

Anomalously bright basal reflections detected by MARSIS at Ultimi Scopuli have been interpreted to indicate the presence of water-saturated materials or ponded liquid water at the base of the South Polar Layered Deposits (SPLD). Because conventional models assume basal temperatures (≤200 K) much lower than the melting point of water, this interpretation has been questioned and other explanations for the source of the bright basal reflections have been proposed, involving clay, hydrated salts, and saline ices. Combining previous published data, simulations, and new laboratory measurements, we demonstrate that the dielectric properties of these materials do not generate strong basal reflections at MARSIS frequencies and Martian temperatures. Plausible candidates remain perchlorates and chlorides brines that exhibit a strong dielectric response at much lower temperatures than other materials. This explanation might require that metastability could be maintained for a long period of time on a geological scale.

Keywordsbrines; MARSIS; bright radar reflections; permittivity; clay; salts
ANZSRC Field of Research 20203705. Geology
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsThird University of Rome, Italy
Southwest Research Institute, United States
D'Annunzio University, Italy
National Research Council, Italy
National Institute for Astrophysics, Italy
Centre for Astrophysics (Research)
Centre for Astrophysics
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