'Yardangs' on Mars

July 27, 2004
Mars - yardangs

This image of 'yardangs’, features sculpted by wind-blown sand seen here near Olympus Mons on Mars, was obtained by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board the ESA Mars Express spacecraft.

This image was taken during orbit 143 with a resolution of 20 metres per pixel. This scene shows a structure south of Olympus Mons, at 6° N latitude and 220° E longitude, which was probably formed by the action of the wind.
Loose sand fragments were transported by wind, and impacted on the bedrock, slowly removing parts of the surface, like a sand-blaster. If the winds blow in the same direction for a long enough period, ‘wind-lanes’, as shown in the picture, can occur. On Earth, the remnants of these features which have not been eroded away are called ‘yardangs’.

Where the surface consists of more resistant material, the force of the wind may not be strong enough to cause this sand-blasting. This might be the reason for the three flat regions (the first in the foreground on the left, and the others top right), which measure about 17 by 9 kilometres.

Source: ESA

Explore further: Image: Dronning Maud Land in Antarctica, as seen by ESA's Proba-1

Related Stories

Image: The effect of the winds of Mars

June 2, 2015

Here on Earth, we are used to the wind shaping our environment over time, forming smooth, sculpted rocks and rippling dunes. In this way, Mars is more similar to Earth than you might expect.

OSIRIS discovers balancing rock on 67P

May 19, 2015

Scientists from Rosetta's OSIRIS team have discovered an extraordinary formation on the larger lobe of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the Aker region. From a group of three boulders the largest one with a diameter of ...

Recommended for you

Magnetism at nanoscale

August 3, 2015

As the demand grows for ever smaller, smarter electronics, so does the demand for understanding materials' behavior at ever smaller scales. Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory are building a unique ...

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Study calculates the speed of ice formation

August 3, 2015

Researchers at Princeton University have for the first time directly calculated the rate at which water crystallizes into ice in a realistic computer model of water molecules. The simulations, which were carried out on supercomputers, ...

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips

August 3, 2015

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered a new way to switch the polarization of nanomagnets, paving the way for high-density storage to move from hard disks onto integrated circuits.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.