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An Evolving Understanding of Enigmatic Large Ripples on Mars

Lapôtre, Mathieu G. A. and Ewing, Ryan C. and Lamb, Michael P. (2021) An Evolving Understanding of Enigmatic Large Ripples on Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 126 (2). Art. No. e2020JE006729. ISSN 2169-9097. doi:10.1029/2020je006729.

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Two scales of ripples form in fine sand on Mars. The larger ripples were proposed to have an equilibrium size set by an aerodynamic process, making them larger under thinner atmospheres and distinct from smaller impact ripples. Sullivan et al. (2020, show that large ripples can develop in a numerical model due to Mars’ low atmospheric pressure. Although their proposed growth‐limiting mechanism is consistent with an aerodynamic process, they argue that the ripples in their model are simply large versions of impact ripples, not a separate class of ripples. Here, we explore this debate by synthesizing recent advances in large‐ripple formation (including initiation and subsequent evolution to equilibrium). Although significant knowledge gaps remain, it is clear that large Martian ripples in well sorted sand are larger under thinner atmospheres, and thus remain a powerful paleoclimate indicator.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription et al., 2020
Lapôtre, Mathieu G. A.0000-0001-9941-1552
Ewing, Ryan C.0000-0001-6337-610X
Lamb, Michael P.0000-0002-5701-0504
Additional Information:© 2021 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 23 February 2021; Version of Record online: 23 February 2021; Accepted manuscript online: 14 January 2021; Manuscript accepted: 23 December 2020; Manuscript revised: 21 December 2020. This work was supported in part by NASA Grant 80NSSC20K0145 to M. G. A. Lapôtre. Data Availability Statement: No new data are presented in this manuscript.
Group:Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:eolian processes; Mars; ripples; winds
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210119-094913580
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Lapôtre, M. G. A., Ewing, R. C., & Lamb, M. P. (2021). An evolving understanding of enigmatic large ripples on Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 126, e2020JE006729.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:107533
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Jan 2021 18:23
Last Modified:01 Jun 2023 22:49

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