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Dune-slope activity due to frost and wind throughout the north polar erg, Mars

Diniega, Serina and Hansen, Candice J. and Allen, Amanda and Grigsby, Nathan and Li, Zheyu and Perez, Tyler and Chojnacki, Matthew (2017) Dune-slope activity due to frost and wind throughout the north polar erg, Mars. In: Martian Gullies and their Earth Analogues. Geological Society special publication. No.467. Geological Society , London, pp. 95-114. PMCID PMC5932633.

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Repeat, high-resolution imaging of dunes within the Martian north polar erg have shown that these dune slopes are very active, with alcoves forming along the dune brink each Mars year. In some areas, a few hundred cubic metres of downslope sand movement have been observed, sometimes moving the dune brink ‘backwards’. Based on morphological and activity-timing similarities of these north polar features to southern dune gullies, identifying the processes forming these features is likely to have relevance for understanding the general evolution/modification of dune gullies. To determine alcove-formation model constraints, we have surveyed seven dune fields, each over 1–4 Mars winters. Consistent with earlier reports, we found that alcove-formation activity occurs during the autumn–winter seasons, before or while the stable seasonal frost layer is deposited. We propose a new model in which alcove formation occurs during the autumn, and springtime sublimation activity then enhances the feature. Summertime winds blow sand into the new alcoves, erasing small alcoves over a few Mars years. Based on the observed rate of alcove erasure, we estimated the effective aeolian sand transport flux. From this, we proposed that alcove formation may account for 2–20% of the total sand movement within these dune fields.

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Additional Information:© 2017 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Published by The Geological Society of London. We thank the HiRISE and MRO teams for collecting, processing and distributing the HiRISE observations, and JMARS for providing a simple, user-friendly framework for image analysis. We also thank the JPL Education Office for their facilitation of the student internships (for AA, NG, ZL and TP), and, in particular, the Minority Student Program for AA’s funding support. We thank the volume editor (Susan Conway) and two reviewers (Corwin Atwood-Stone and Lori Fenton) for providing helpful and thorough critiques that improved the clarity and comprehensiveness of this paper. SD’s work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The full study was supported by MDAP grant NNN13D465T, and MC is also supported by MDAP grant NNH14ZDA001N.
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Series Name:Geological Society special publication
Issue or Number:467
PubMed Central ID:PMC5932633
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180504-074440907
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Official Citation:Dune-slope activity due to frost and wind throughout the north polar erg, Mars. Serina Diniega, Candice J. Hansen, Amanda Allen, Nathan Grigsby, Zheyu Li, Tyler Perez and Matthew Chojnacki. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 467, 95-114, 27 November 2017,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:86221
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 May 2018 15:03
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:36

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