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Distinct erosional progressions in the Medusae Fossae Formation, Mars, indicate contrasting environmental conditions

Published on Dec 1, 2009in Icarus3.565
· DOI :10.1016/j.icarus.2009.06.031
Kathleen Mandt28
Estimated H-index: 28
(UND: University of North Dakota),
Shanaka L. de Silva20
Estimated H-index: 20
(OSU: Oregon State University)
+ 1 AuthorsDanielle Y. Wyrick11
Estimated H-index: 11
(SwRI: Southwest Research Institute)
Sources
Abstract
Abstract The form of erosional remnants of the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF) on Mars provide evidence of their development progression and implicate two spatially distinct environments in the equatorial regions of Mars. Ubiquitous yardangs are clearly the product of strong unidirectional winds acting over time on variably indurated deposits. Yardang orientation is used as a proxy to map regional and local wind direction at meso-scale resolution. In other, more limited areas not subjected to strong unidirectional winds, randomly oriented kilometer-scale mesas and buttes are found to be remnants of progressive cliff recession through mass wasting as support is lost from within the MFF lithology at its margins. The differing processes that dominate the formation of the distinctive landforms have implications for meso-scale variations in climate that remain unresolved by current modeling efforts. Additionally, the variability of erosional forms within the deposit emphasizes the overall complexity of this extensive formation.
  • References (40)
  • Citations (19)
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References40
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#1S. L. de Silva (OSU: Oregon State University)H-Index: 8
#2John E. Bailey (UAF: University of Alaska Fairbanks)H-Index: 12
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#1Lynn M. Carter (Smithsonian Institution)H-Index: 24
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The SHARAD (shallow radar) sounding radar on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter detects subsurface reflections in the eastern and western parts of the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF). The radar waves penetrate up to 580 m of the MFF and detect clear subsurface interfaces in two locations: west MFF between 150 and 155° E and east MFF between 209 and 213° E. Analysis of SHARAD radargrams suggests that the real part of the permittivity is ∼3.0, which falls within the range of permittivity values inferr...
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#1Thomas R. Watters (Smithsonian Institution)H-Index: 39
#2Bruce A. Campbell (Smithsonian Institution)H-Index: 32
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The equatorial Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF) is enigmatic and perhaps among the youngest geologic deposits on Mars. They are thought to be composed of volcanic ash, eolian sediments, or an ice-rich material analogous to polar layered deposits. The Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument aboard the Mars Express Spacecraft has detected nadir echoes offset in time-delay from the surface return in orbits over MFF material. These echoes are interpreted to be f...
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#2Stephen Self (OU: Open University)H-Index: 55
Last. Peter J. Mouginis-Mark (U.H.: University of Hawaii at Manoa)H-Index: 40
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Abstract Yardangs, as typical aeolian landforms, are extensively identified in arid/hyper-arid areas on Earth and other terrestrial bodies. In this review, based on analyses of morphology, distribution, age, climate, and geologic condition of yardangs worldwide, we (1) assess the impacts of various controlling factors on yardang development to generalize a model based on morphology; (2) illustrate the climate-driven mechanism for yardangs; (3) propose a geomorphological evolutionary model of yar...
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Abstract Formative mechanisms and sedimentary environments of yardang landform distribution in arid and semiarid regions of northwestern China remain poorly understood due to their unique formation and enigmatic causation. Considerable controversy remains as to whether yardang deposits evolve from aeolian or aqueous forces, and no reliable, quantitative method has yet been made available to resolve this issue. This study conducted a comparative analysis between yardang strata and modern surface ...
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