Saturday, November 28, 2015

What Controls Sand Dune Migration in Martian Herschel Crater?

Present-day aeolian activity in Herschel Crater, Mars


Cardinale et al


In this report, we show evidence for ripple and dune migration in Herschel Crater on Mars.

We estimate an average dune migration of 0.8 m and a minimum ripple migration of 1.1 m in a time span of 3.7 Earth-years. These dunes and ripples are mainly shaped by prevailing winds coming from the north, however we also report the presence of secondary winds which elongate the barchans’ horns. Such a complex wind scenario is likely caused by the influence of winds blowing off the western crater rim as suggested by the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS), an atmospheric mesoscale model. A multi-directional wind regime at the local scale is also supported by the observed bimodal distribution of the ripple trends. For the first time, a survey integrating the assessment of dune and ripple migration is presented, showing how dune topography can influence the migration patterns of ripples and how underlying topography appears to control the rates of dune migration.

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