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Santorini volcano as a potential Martian analogue: The Balos Cove Basalts

Pantazidis, A. and Baziotis, I. and Solomonidou, A. and Manoutsoglou, E. and Palles, D. and Kamitsos, E. and Karageorgis, A. and Profitiliotis, G. and Kondoyanni, M. and Klemme, S. and Berndt, J. and Ming, D. and Asimow, P. (2019) Santorini volcano as a potential Martian analogue: The Balos Cove Basalts. Icarus, 325 . pp. 128-140. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2019.02.026.

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The interpretation of geologic processes on Mars from sparse meteorite, remote sensing and rover data is influenced by knowledge gained from well-characterized terrestrial analogues. This calls for detailed study of candidate terrestrial analogues and comparison of their observable features to those encountered on the surface of Mars. We evaluated the mineralogical, geochemical, and physical properties of the Balos cove basalts (BCB) from the island of Santorini and compared them to Martian meteorites, Mars rover surface measurements, and other verified Martian analogues obtained from the International Space Analogue Rockstore (ISAR). Twenty rock samples were collected from the Balos cove area based on their freshness, integrity, and basaltic appearance in the field. Optical microscopy of BCB revealed a pilotaxitic to trachytic texture, with olivine and clinopyroxenephenocrysts in a fine groundmass of olivine, clinopyroxene, plagioclase, magnetite, and devitrified glass. All major minerals show normal zoning, including calcic plagioclase (An_(78–85) at the core and An_(60–76) at the rim), augite (En_(36-48)Wo_(41-44)Fs_(11–21)), and olivine (Fo_(74–88)). The dominant bands in the infrared-attenuated total reflectance (IR-ATR) spectra from BCB can be assigned to olivine (~875 cm−1), calcic plagioclase (~1130 cm^(−1)), and augite (~970 cm^(−1)). The whole-rock chemical compositions and mineralogy of the BCB are similar to published analyses of typical olivine-phyric shergottites and basalts and basaltic materials analyzed in Gusev and Gale craters on Mars. BCB porosity is in the range of 7–15% and is similar to the porosities of the ISAR samples. Although no terrestrial rock is ever a perfect match to Martian compositions, the differences in mineralogy and geochemistry between BCB and some classes of Martian samples are relatively subtle and the basalts of Santorini are as close a match as other accepted Mars basalt analogues. The Santorini site offers excellent field logistics that, together with the petrology of the outcrop, makes it a valuable locality for testing and calibration deployments, field training, and other activities related to current and future Mars exploration.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Baziotis, I.0000-0003-0185-5847
Solomonidou, A.0000-0002-4033-5898
Ming, D.0000-0003-0567-8876
Asimow, P.0000-0001-6025-8925
Additional Information:© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Received 31 October 2018, Revised 18 February 2019, Accepted 22 February 2019, Available online 25 February 2019. We thank the constructive comments raised by two anonymous reviewers and the editor Dr. Johnson for his editorial handling. Also, we kindly thank Dr. Scott VanBommel for his great help with the handling of the PDS geosciences node data. We greatly thank Dr. G. Economou from Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (Athens, Greece) for access on their SEM and XRD facilities. Also, we thank Dr. C. Anagnostou for his efforts to perform the XRF analyses at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR). We acknowledge Dr. Jesús Martinez-Frias for his kindness to review an early version of the manuscript.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190225-085123402
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Official Citation:A. Pantazidis, I. Baziotis, A. Solomonidou, E. Manoutsoglou, D. Palles, E. Kamitsos, A. Karageorgis, G. Profitiliotis, M. Kondoyanni, S. Klemme, J. Berndt, D. Ming, P.D. Asimow, Santorini volcano as a potential Martian analogue: The Balos Cove Basalts, Icarus, Volume 325, 2019, Pages 128-140, ISSN 0019-1035, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:93200
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:25 Feb 2019 17:00
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 16:56

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