Thermal Infrared Feature

Living reference work entry


Regions on a planetary surface which show different thermal infrared emission parameters than their surroundings. Thermal infrared features could also be identified in the atmosphere, e.g., different temperature cloud layers or other confined cloud units, or in aquatic bodies. Note that the term “thermal feature” is not used in the literature, we use it as an analog of albedo and radar features.


  1. (1)

    Hot spots: internal heat-induced features (Lopes-Gautier et al. 1997) (see Volcano (Io), Lava Lake) (Fig. 1).

  2. (2)
    Thermal inertia features: regions where the ability of the surface material to resist a temperature change is different from its surrounding. “Thermal inertia introduces a lag time between absorption and reradiation of solar radiation. Thermal inertia depends predominantly on regolith particle size and depth, degree of compaction, and exposure of solid rocks and boulders within the top few centimeters of the subsurface” (Rozitis and Green 2011).
    1. (2.1)



Dust Radar Compaction Boulder 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Konkoly Thege Miklos Astronomical InstituteResearch Center for Astronomy and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Planetary Science Institute, China University of GeosciencesWuhanP. R. China
  3. 3.Planetary Science Research GroupEötös Loránd University, Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary