Spectral Reflectance Properties of Hydrocarbons: Remote-Sensing Implications

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Science  14 Jul 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4914, pp. 165-168
DOI: 10.1126/science.245.4914.165


The spectral reflectance properties of bituminous tar sands were examined in the wavelength range from 0.35 to 2.6 micrometers. Unique absorption features due to all the major phases, except quartz, appear in the spectra. The intensities of the absorption features correlate with the abundances of the various phases. The results of this study have applications to the remote sensing of many terrestrial and extraterrestrial targets because of potential similarities between tar sand and other hydrocarbon occurrences. For example, it is found that highly polymerized hydrocarbons are a plausible constituent of the dark material on one of Saturn's satellites, Iapetus.