Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Gully formation in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: multiple sources of water, temporal sequence and relative importance in gully erosion and deposition processes

By
James L. Dickson
James L. Dickson
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02906, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
James W. Head
James W. Head
Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02906, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Joseph S. Levy
Joseph S. Levy
Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78758, USA
Present address: Department of Geology, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY 13346, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Gareth A. Morgan
Gareth A. Morgan
Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
David R. Marchant
David R. Marchant
Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2019

Abstract

We report on a decade of fieldwork designed to determine the conditions required for erosion of Mars-like gully channels in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of Antarctica. We have outlined the major factors in the morphological evolution of gullies in the Inland Mixed Zone of the MDV: (1) the distribution of ice sources; (2) the temporal aspects of ice melting; and (3) the relative significance of melting events in gullies. We show that significant erosion of gully channels can be achieved if geometrical and environmental conditions combine to concentrate ice where it can rapidly melt. In contrast, annual melting of surface ice and snow deposits during late-season discharge events contribute to transport of water, but flux rarely surpasses the infiltration capacity of the active layer. These small discharge events do not erode channels of significant width. Even when the flux is sufficient to carve a c. 10–20 cm deep channel during late summer (January–February) runoff, these small channels seldom persist through multiple seasons, because they are seasonally muted and filled with aeolian deposits. We briefly discuss the application of these results to the study of gully systems on Mars.

Supplementary material: Eight videos showing activity and events are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3935992

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

Martian Gullies and their Earth Analogues
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS

S. J. Conway
S. J. Conway
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France
Search for other works by this author on:
J. L. Carrivick
J. L. Carrivick
University of Leeds, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
P. A. Carling
P. A. Carling
University of Southampton, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
T. de Haas
T. de Haas
University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
Search for other works by this author on:
T.N. Harrison
T.N. Harrison
Arizona State University, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of London
Volume
467
ISBN electronic:
9781786203625
Publication date:
January 01, 2019

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal