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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 20, 2020

Petrographic and spectral study of hydrothermal mineralization in drill core from Hawaii: A potential analog to alteration in the martian subsurface

Wendy M. Calvin ORCID logo , Nicole Lautze , Joe Moore , Donald Thomas , Eric Haskins and Brandon P. Rasmussen
From the journal American Mineralogist


Continuous rock core was collected for 1764 m (5786′) on the Pohakuloa Army Training base near the center of the big island of Hawaii. The core traverses basaltic lava flows from the volcano’s shield-building phase, and perched aquifers and higher temperature groundwaters were encountered. The collected samples record water-rock interactions of basaltic materials in a setting that may be a model for groundwater interactions on Mars. We collected visible and infrared point spectra of materials in the lowest portion of the core, where alteration was noted to become more prominent. We identified three types of phyllosilicate spectral signatures and three types of zeolites. The phyllosilicates show similarity to those identified on Mars using data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). Based on the field survey, 25 depths were selected for sampling and petrographic analysis of thin sections. The spectral data and thin section work have a strong agreement in the types of materials identified by the two different techniques. Both the spectral and petrographic data indicate low to moderate temperature geothermal alteration occurred in the lower half of the core. The field spectra are a useful reconnaissance tool for selecting mineralogic diversity for subsequent higher resolution and more time-consuming laboratory analysis.

† Special collection papers can be found online at

Acknowledgments and Funding

We appreciate the two external reviews whose comments and suggestions help improve the clarity of the manuscript. This project was funded in part by the Department of Energy award: FG36-02ID14311 and 10EE0003997 to the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy for travel and data analyses. Additional support from the University of Nevada, Reno, and the NASA Solar Systems Workings program Award 80NSSC19K0031 to W.M. Calvin.

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Received: 2019-05-21
Accepted: 2020-02-14
Published Online: 2020-09-20
Published in Print: 2020-09-25

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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