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A Mars-oriented image database of hand lens–scale features and textures: The 1996 Skeiđarársandur jökulhlaup example

By
R.A. Yingst
R.A. Yingst
1 Planetary Science Institute, 1700 E. Fort Lowell, Suite 106, Tucson, Arizona, 85719, USA
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Mariek E. Schmidt
Mariek E. Schmidt
2 Department of Earth Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, Saint Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada
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Rachel C.F. Lentz
Rachel C.F. Lentz
3 St. Andrew's Priory School, 224 Queen Emma Square, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, USA
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Jason L. Janzen
Jason L. Janzen
4 Department of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA
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Kim R. Kuhlman
Kim R. Kuhlman
1 Planetary Science Institute, 1700 E. Fort Lowell, Suite 106, Tucson, Arizona, 85719, USA
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Published:
December 01, 2011

Analysis of geologic materials at the microscale—where we use the term “microscale” to refer to features resolved approximately by a hand lens—has proven to be a powerful strategy to maximize the information gleaned from limited samples, such as on Mars. However, discrimination between processes that leave behind similar traces requires enlightened comparisons to well-characterized analogs. We characterized and imaged several terrestrial analogs of materials produced by volcanic, hydrovolcanic, or cryovolcanic Martian processes at the hand lens scale, and then we produced a convenient tool for the community to access those data for comparisons. We report on the preparation of this Mars-focused image atlas (the Mars Analog Handlens-Scale Image Database), using as an example analog studies of particles deposited by the 1996 Skeiđarársandur jökulhlaup (a jökulhlaup is a subglacially generated outwash flood resulting in a sandur, or sheet of outwash sands and gravel).

We imaged unconsolidated sediment particles in situ at about hand lens scale and documented their characteristics at six sites along the sandur. Average particle size and number of angular, very angular, and subangular particles decreased with distance from the source; the average sphericity of particles increased slightly; and the range of sphericity values present narrowed with distance. If observed in a region on Mars, this combination of characteristics would be one indicator that subglacially generated outwash flooding was the process responsible for deposition of sediment. The Mars Analog Handlens-Scale Image Database is searchable and can be found on the Geosciences Node of the Planetary Data System at http://an.rsl.wustl.edu/marsanalog/.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Analogs for Planetary Exploration

W. Brent Garry
W. Brent Garry
Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, USA
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Jacob E. Bleacher
Jacob E. Bleacher
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Planetary Geodynamics Lab, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
483
ISBN print:
9780813724836
Publication date:
December 01, 2011

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