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FIELD STUDIES OF GULLIES AND PINGOS ON SVALBARD – A MARTIAN ANALOG.

Conference paper
Authors Ella Carlsson
H Johansson
Andreas Johnsson
Mats Olvmo
Jennifer Heldmann
Chris McKay
Ernst Hauber
Harald Hiesinger
Dennis Reiss
Michael Zanetti
Henning Schmidt
Sverker Fredriksson
Steve McDaniel
Published in European Planetary Science Congress, 21-26 September 2008
Volume 3
Publication year 2008
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Links www.cosis.net/abstracts/EPSC2008/00...
Keywords Mars, Svalbard, gully, pingo
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Physical Geography

Abstract

The gully systems on Mars have been found to superpose young geological surfaces such as dunes and thermal contraction polygons. This in combination with the general absence of superimposed impact craters suggest that the gullies are relatively recent geological formations. The observed gullies display a wide set of morphologies ranging from features seemingly formed by fluvial erosion to others pointing to dry landslide processes. A recent discovery suggests that this is an ongoing process, which appears to occur even today. 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 been studied only from orbit via remote sensing data. Hydrostatic pingos are perennial ice-cored mounds that may reach an elongated or circular radius of approximately 150 m. They are found in periglacial environments where they are formed by freezing processes in the continuous permafrost. The pingos go through different evolutionary stages as they mature, where the final stage leaves an annular rim left by the collapse of the summit. Images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) show small fractured mounds in the Martian mid-latitudes. Even though some differences are observed, the best terrestrial analogues for the observed mound morphology are pingos. Gullies and pingos found in Arctic climates on Earth could be an analog for the Martian ones. A comparative analysis might help to understand the formation mechanisms of the Martian pingos and gullies and their possible eroding agent.

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