Gullies and debris-flows in Ladakh Himalaya, India: a potential Martian analogue
Rishitosh K. Sinha, S. Vijayan, Anil D. Shukla, Priyabrata Das, Falguni Bhattacharya, 2019. "Gullies and debris-flows in Ladakh Himalaya, India: a potential Martian analogue", Martian Gullies and their Earth Analogues, S. J. Conway, J. L. Carrivick, P. A. Carling, T. de Haas, T.N. Harrison
Download citation file:
We conducted comparative morphological analysis of gullies within two high-latitude Martian craters (Domoni and Maricourt) in the northern hemisphere of Mars with (1) the debris-flow gully systems in the Ladakh Himalaya and (2) Istok Crater in the southern mid-latitudes of Mars where water-bearing debris-flow deposits have been previously reported. Our findings suggest that the debris-flow landforms preserved on gully and alluvial fans in the Ladakh Himalaya are potential analogues for the deposits preserved over the equator-facing slopes of Domoni and Maricourt Craters. Further, we found that the morphological attributes of channels and deposits (including overlapping terminal lobes, levées, tongue-shaped/lobate deposits and broad/small depositional deposits) within both the study craters and Istok Crater are similar. As a result, the studied craters emerge as additional sites in which possible evidence of water-bearing debris-flows are preserved on Mars. By comparison to our Earth analogue, we further propose that episodic melting of snow accumulated within the sheltered alcoves is the most likely source of water for the formation of such gullies. Taken together, our findings suggest that debris-flow may not be a rare process in gully formation on Mars and evidence may be preserved in other unexplored areas.
Figures & Tables
Martian Gullies and their Earth Analogues
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Gullies on Mars resemble terrestrial gullies involved in the transport of abundant material down steep slopes by liquid water. However, liquid water should not be stable at the Martian surface. The articles in this volume present the two main opposing theories for Martian gully formation: climate-driven melting of surficial water-ice deposits and seasonal dry-ice sublimation. The evidence presented ranges from remote-sensing observations, to experimental simulations, to comparison with Earth analogues. The opposing hypotheses imply either that Mars has been unusually wet in the last few million years or that it has remained a cold dry desert – both with profound implications for understanding the water budget of Mars and its habitability. The debate questions the limits of remote-sensing data and how we interpret active processes on extra-terrestrial planetary surfaces, even beyond those on Mars, as summarized by the review paper at the beginning of the book.