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GEOLOGICALLY RECENT DEBRIS FLOWS IN A WELL-PRESERVED IMPACT CRATER, MARS: INSIGHTS FROM TERRESTRIAL ANALOGS IN SPITSBERGEN, SVALBARD.

Conference paper
Authors Andreas Johnsson
Dennis Reiss
Michael Zanetti
Mark D. Johnson
Ernst Hauber
Harald Hiesinger
Published in 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
Volume 42
Issue 2541
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Links www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2011/...
Keywords Mars, Svalbard, crater, mass wasting, ground ice
Subject categories Planetary system, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Physical Geography

Abstract

Gullies on Mars are known to display a range of different morphologies but typically include an alcove, channel and apron. Several processes have been invoked to explain their genesis ranging from grain flow, debris flow to fluvial erosion with alluvial deposition. Albeit there is a general consensus that the medium involved is water, more attention is now drawn towards the dominant depositional processes of the gully fan formation. The observed range of fan morphologies asks for several depositional mechanisms and likely vary at different sites due to regional and local differences in climate and colluvial source material. Studies indicate that the common mechanism is fluvial deposition in contrast to debris flow dominated fans which have only been documented at three sites. These sites formed debris deposits of apparently fine grained dusty mantle material. Here we report on unusual Martian debris flows in an unnamed southern hemisphere crater which is rich in coarse grained colluvial material that forms well preserved debris flows, debris plugs and levees. It also displays numerous fresh looking rock falls. This raises the following questions: Why does so well-developed debris flows occur here and not in other nearby craters? What role does the coarse colluvial material play in debris flow initiation and development? Here we describe the debris flow morphology and we compare the morphology of debris flow deposits in Svalbard as potential terrestrial analogs. Furthermore, we investigate the sieve-deposition model as an explanation for the unusual morphology of these debris deposits.

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