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Earth-like sand fluxes on Mars

Bridges, N. T. and Ayoub, F. and Avouac, J.-P. and Leprince, S. and Lucas, A. and Mattson, S. (2012) Earth-like sand fluxes on Mars. Nature, 485 (7398). pp. 339-342. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/nature11022.

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Strong and sustained winds on Mars have been considered rare, on the basis of surface meteorology measurements and global circulation models, raising the question of whether the abundant dunes and evidence for wind erosion seen on the planet are a current process. Recent studies showed sand activity, but could not determine whether entire dunes were moving—implying large sand fluxes—or whether more localized and surficial changes had occurred. Here we present measurements of the migration rate of sand ripples and dune lee fronts at the Nili Patera dune field. We show that the dunes are near steady state, with their entire volumes composed of mobile sand. The dunes have unexpectedly high sand fluxes, similar, for example, to those in Victoria Valley, Antarctica, implying that rates of landscape modification on Mars and Earth are similar.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Bridges, N. T.0000-0002-6790-6793
Ayoub, F.0000-0002-7389-8400
Avouac, J.-P.0000-0002-3060-8442
Leprince, S.0000-0003-4555-8975
Additional Information:© 2012 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 6 September 2011; accepted 6 March 2012; Published online 9 May 2012. Discussions with R. Ewing, C. Narteau, and S. Silvestro on bedforms and R. Kirk on stereo data significantly improved this research. This research was supported by grants from NASA’s Mars Data Analysis Program, the Keck Institute for Space Studies, and seed funding from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Director’s Research and Development Fund. N.T.B. is the principal investigator of the NASA MDAP grant that partially funded this work, chose the study area, defined major science questions, participated in data analysis, compared results to other Mars and terrestrial data, and led the writing of the paper. F.A. processed all the data with COSI-Corr, produced the figures and Supplementary Information ancillary materials, and played a major role in quantitative analysis and text writing. J-P.A. initiated the project, contributed fundamental ideas on sand flux and dune movement, supervised the data analysis and contributed to text writing. S.L. evaluated all COSI-Corr and quantitative results. A.L. provided expertise in interpretation of bedform movement and sand flux in regards to Mars surface evolution and climate models. S. M. produced the digital elevation model. All authors shared ideas and results and helped produce the final manuscript. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies, Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Keck Institute for Space StudiesUNSPECIFIED
JPL, Director’s Research and Development FundUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Planetary sciences; Earth sciences
Issue or Number:7398
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120611-090342699
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:31870
Deposited On:12 Jun 2012 22:17
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 20:01

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