'Yardangs' on Mars

Jul 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: Rings and loops in the stars—Planck's stunning new images

Related Stories

Image: The effect of the winds of Mars

Jun 02, 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 ...

Recommended for you

Earth and Mars could share a life history

21 minutes ago

While life is everywhere on Earth, there is much debate about how it began. Some believe it originated naturally from the chemistry found on our planet as it evolved. Others hypothesize that life—or at ...

User comments : 0

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.