Retrieving magma composition from TIR spectra: implications for terrestrial planets investigations

Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 23;9(1):15200. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51543-9.


Emissivity and reflectance spectra have been investigated on two series of silicate glasses, having compositions belonging to alkaline and subalkaline series, covering the most common terrestrial igneous rocks. Glasses were synthesized starting from natural end-members outcropping at Vulcano Island (Aeolian Islands, Italy) and on Snake River Plain (USA). Results show that the shift of the spectra, by taking Christiansen feature (CF) as a reference point, is correlated with SiO2 content, the SCFM factor and/or the degree of polymerization state via the NBO/T and temperature. The more evolved is the composition, the more polymerized the structure, the shorter the wavelength at which CF is observable. CF shift is also dependent on temperature. The shape of the spectra discriminates alkaline character, and it is related to the evolution of Qn structural units. Vulcano alkaline series show larger amount of Q4 and Q3 species even for mafic samples compared to the subalkaline Snake River Plain series. Our results provide new and robust insights for the geochemical characterization of volcanic rocks by remote sensing, with the outlook to infer origin of magmas both on Earth as well as on terrestrial planets or rocky bodies, from emissivity and reflectance spectra.