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An evaluation of models for Martian gully formation using remote sensing and in situ measurments of Svalbard analogs.

Authors Ella Carlsson
Henrik Johansson
Andreas Johnsson
Jennifer Heldmann
Chris McKay
Mats Olvmo
S. Fredriksson
H.T. Schmidt
Published in Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 39
Volume XXXIX
Issue 1852
Publication year 2008
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Keywords Mars, gully, ice, climate change, snow melt
Subject categories Planetary system, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


The newly discovered gully systems on Mars have been found on rather young geologi-cal surfaces such as dunes and polygons. This in combination with the general absence of superimposed impact craters suggests that the gullies are relatively young geological features. Their morphology indicates that they have been eroded by a liquid fluid, most probably water. A recent discovery suggests that gully formation is an ongoing process, which appears to occur even today. This is a paradox since water in current Martian atmospheric conditions cannot be found in a stable form on the surface due to the low pressure and temperature during normal conditions. Several formation mechanisms have been proposed for the Martian gullies such as liquid carbon dioxide reservoirs, shallow liquid water aquifer, melting ground ice, dry landslide, snow melt and deep liquid water aquifer. However, none of these models can alone explain all the gullies discovered on Mars. So far Martian gullies have only been studied from high orbit via satellites. Gullies found in Arctic climates on Earth could be an equitable analog for the Martian gullies and a com-parative analysis could help disclose the formation mechanisms of the Martian gullies as well as their eroding agent.

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