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Open AccessArticle

Plasma Spectroscopy of Various Types of Gypsum: An Ideal Terrestrial Analogue

1
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Nehru Science Centre, University of Allahabad, Prayagraj 211002, India
2
National Center of Experimental Mineralogy and Petrology, 14, Chatham Lines, University of Allahabad, Prayagraj 211002, India
3
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Space Institute, Center for Laser Applications, 411 B. H. Goethert Parkway, Tullahoma, TN 37388, USA
4
Department of Physics, University of Allahabad, Prayagraj 211002, India
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atoms 2019, 7(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/atoms7030072
Received: 1 July 2019 / Revised: 15 July 2019 / Accepted: 17 July 2019 / Published: 21 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Plasma Spectroscopy Applications)
The first detection of gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O) by the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity in the Gale Crater, Mars created a profound impact on planetary science and exploration. The unique capability of plasma spectroscopy, which involves in situ elemental analysis in extraterrestrial environments, suggests the presence of water in the red planet based on phase characterization and provides a clue to Martian paleoclimate. The key to gypsum as an ideal paleoclimate proxy lies in its textural variants and terrestrial gypsum samples from varied locations and textural types have been analyzed with laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) in this study. Petrographic, sub-microscopic, and powder X-ray diffraction characterizations confirm the presence of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulphate; CaSO4·2H2O), bassanite (semi-hydrated calcium sulphate; CaSO4·½H2O), and anhydrite (anhydrous calcium sulphate; CaSO4), along with accessory phases (quartz and jarosite). The principal component analysis of LIBS spectra from texturally varied gypsums can be differentiated from one another due to the chemical variability in their elemental concentrations. The concentration of gypsum is determined from the partial least-square regressions model. The rapid characterization of gypsum samples with LIBS is expected to work well in extraterrestrial environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: laser-induced plasma; atomic spectroscopy; laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy; principal component analysis; partial least-square regression; gypsum; Mars laser-induced plasma; atomic spectroscopy; laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy; principal component analysis; partial least-square regression; gypsum; Mars
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Rai, A.K.; Pati, J.K.; Parigger, C.G.; Rai, A.K. Plasma Spectroscopy of Various Types of Gypsum: An Ideal Terrestrial Analogue. Atoms 2019, 7, 72.

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