Winds drive dune movement on Mars

Nov 16, 2011
Mars, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA

Sand dunes, a common feature on the surface of Mars, can provide a record of recent and past changes. Some dunes near Mars’ polar areas have been observed to move recently due to carbon dioxide ice sublimation, but it has not been confirmed whether dunes are still active all over Mars. Winds contribute to dune movement on Earth, but wind tunnel and atmospheric computer simulations have suggested that strong winds would be rare in the current Martian atmosphere.

In a new study, Silvestro et al. observe recent dune movement in Mars' tropical regions, which are not affected by seasonal changes in carbon dioxide frost.

Focusing on the Arabia Terra and Meridiani region on Mars, the researchers analyze images from the High Resolution Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as well as other sources of data. They measure migration rates of two groups of ripples in the sand in a dune field in Meridiani Planum and find that advanced about 0.4–1 meter (1.31-3.28 feet) in a Martian year.

The study shows clear evidence that wind-driven dune activity occurs regularly on Mars today. This suggests that carbon dioxide ice sublimation is not necessary for Martian sand movement, as had previously been thought, and that tunnel measurements and computer simulations showing that strong winds are rare on need to be reconsidered.

Explore further: MAVEN Mars spacecraft to begin orbit of Red Planet

More information: “Active aeolian processes on Mars: A regional study in Arabia and Meridiani Terrae”, Geophysical Research Letters, 2011. doi:10.1029/2011GL048955

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User comments : 7

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Isaacsname
4.8 / 5 (4) Nov 16, 2011
Wait.... I was under the impression that there's somewhat of an active tornado season on Mars, also frequently observed dust devils, iirc they've helped to keep the rover's solar panels clean.
Shootist
5 / 5 (3) Nov 16, 2011
Wait.... I was under the impression that there's somewhat of an active tornado season on Mars, also frequently observed dust devils, iirc they've helped to keep the rover's solar panels clean.


Where do they say otherwise? Tornadoes at .05 bar will blow as a light zephyr.

I will mention that we already knew this; "Wind Moves Sand Dunes", but confirmation is nice, I suppose.
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2011
Wait.... I was under the impression that there's somewhat of an active tornado season on Mars, also frequently observed dust devils, iirc they've helped to keep the rover's solar panels clean.


Where do they say otherwise? Tornadoes at .05 bar will blow as a light zephyr.

I will mention that we already knew this; "Wind Moves Sand Dunes", but confirmation is nice, I suppose.


Lol, I didn't even know " they " thought frost heave was behind dune movements on Mars..
Pirouette
1.3 / 5 (3) Nov 16, 2011
this is from: http://marscritte...esults=9
"Exhumed Layers Near the Nili Fossae"
Two friends in my Mars group (Susan and Jeanie) read the above article and suggested that I include their URL in this thread. I agreed to it, but I also told them that members of Physorg reject anything that would indicate large life forms on Mars unless it's an official announcement from the science community. But here it is anyway.

The pictures show that what NASA calls "sand dunes", in MANY cases are actually giant snakes or worms that are covered with sand or clay, presumably for protection against the elements and of drying out. These creatures appear to be a kilometer or so in length and have two appendages in front like horns or a maw to gather food. I can't even imagine what they eat, but it appears that all their sustenance is in the sand or clay.
Anyway, the pictures are not geology
Pirouette
1 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2011
The pictures used to be full-screen size, but blogspot, for some reason, has shortened them without our knowledge. We will need to adjust the sizes of the pictures to a larger scale and ask blogspot not to make any further adjustments.
They have also added thumbnails which are not the original size when they are clicked on.
MarkyMark
5 / 5 (2) Nov 17, 2011
Thanks for linking to the site Pirouette i really needed a good laugh. I just hope you are joking about taking that blogger seriously tho as all of the conclusions that blogger has is laughable at best, especially the ones where the blogger has to enhance eliments of some pictures such as 'sharpening' some lines to create the immage of a ducks head that is touted as proof that ducks not only exist on mars but presumibly are worshiped by little green men.
Shootist
not rated yet Nov 17, 2011
Thanks for linking to the site Pirouette i really needed a good laugh. I just hope you are joking about taking that blogger seriously tho as all of the conclusions that blogger has is laughable at best, especially the ones where the blogger has to enhance eliments of some pictures such as 'sharpening' some lines to create the immage of a ducks head that is touted as proof that ducks not only exist on mars but presumibly are worshiped by little green men.


dude, Pirouette is the blogger in question. And yes, he believes the sand dunes are giant "snakes". He also believes that some other photos of sand dunes are actually photos of trees.

He is as mad as Oliver.