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How do spiral troughs form on Mars?

Jon D. Pelletier
How do spiral troughs form on Mars?
Geology (Boulder) (April 2004) 32 (4): 365-367


A three-dimensional model for the coupled evolution of ice-surface temperature and elevation in the Martian polar ice caps is presented. The model includes (1) enhanced heat absorption on steep, dust-exposed scarps, (2) accumulation and ablation, and (3) lateral conduction of heat within the ice cap. The model equations are similar to classic equations for excitable media, including nerve fibers and chemical oscillators. In two dimensions, a small zone of initial melting in the model develops into a train of poleward-migrating troughs with widths similar to those observed on Mars. Starting from random initial conditions, the three-dimensional model reproduces spiral waves very similar to those in the north polar ice cap, including secondary features such as gull-wing-shaped troughs, bifurcations, and terminations. These results suggest that eolian processes and ice flow may not control trough morphology.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 32
Serial Issue: 4
Title: How do spiral troughs form on Mars?
Author(s): Pelletier, Jon D.
Affiliation: University of Arizona, Geosciences Department, Tucson, AZ, United States
Pages: 365-367
Published: 200404
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 12
Accession Number: 2004-060792
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200418
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