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Gully formation in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: multiple sources of water, temporal sequence and relative importance in gully erosion and deposition processes

Dickson, James L. and Head, James W. and Levy, Joseph S. and Morgan, Gareth A. and Marchant, David R. (2017) Gully formation in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: multiple sources of water, temporal sequence and relative importance in gully erosion and deposition processes. In: Martian Gullies and their Earth Analogues. Geological Society special publication. No.467. Geological Society , London, pp. 289-314. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20190626-085118713

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Abstract

We report on a decade of fieldwork designed to determine the conditions required for erosion of Mars-like gully channels in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of Antarctica. We have outlined the major factors in the morphological evolution of gullies in the Inland Mixed Zone of the MDV: (1) the distribution of ice sources; (2) the temporal aspects of ice melting; and (3) the relative significance of melting events in gullies. We show that significant erosion of gully channels can be achieved if geometrical and environmental conditions combine to concentrate ice where it can rapidly melt. In contrast, annual melting of surface ice and snow deposits during late-season discharge events contribute to transport of water, but flux rarely surpasses the infiltration capacity of the active layer. These small discharge events do not erode channels of significant width. Even when the flux is sufficient to carve a c. 10–20 cm deep channel during late summer (January–February) runoff, these small channels seldom persist through multiple seasons, because they are seasonally muted and filled with aeolian deposits. We briefly discuss the application of these results to the study of gully systems on Mars.


Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1144/SP467.4DOIArticle
https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3935992DOISupplementary Materials
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Head, James W.0000-0003-2013-560X
Additional Information:© 2017 The Author(s). Published by The Geological Society of London. We appreciate detailed and constructive reviews of this paper by Colin Dundas and an anonymous reviewer, as well as the editor, Susan Conway. Field assistance was generously provided by dozens of colleagues who were all essential for instrument implementation. In particular, we thank Mike Wyatt. We are grateful for logistical assistance from Raytheon Polar Services, Antarctic Support Contract, Petroleum Helicopters International and the summer staff of McMurdo Station. We thank the National Science Foundation Division of Polar Programs for funding several projects that contributed to this paper: ANT-0739702 to JWH, ANT-0944702 to DRM and PLR-1343649 to JSL.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFOPP-0739702
NSFPLR-0944702
NSFPLR-1343649
Series Name:Geological Society special publication
Issue or Number:467
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190626-085118713
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20190626-085118713
Official Citation:Gully formation in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: multiple sources of water, temporal sequence and relative importance in gully erosion and deposition processes. James L. Dickson, James W. Head, Joseph S. Levy, Gareth A. Morgan and David R. Marchant. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 467, 289-314, 4 December 2017, https://doi.org/10.1144/SP467.4
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:96712
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Jun 2019 16:06
Last Modified:03 Dec 2020 22:53

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