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Pervasive aeolian activity along rover Curiosity's traverse in Gale Crater, Mars

Simone Silvestro, D. A. Vaz, R. C. Ewing, A. P. Rossi, L. K. Fenton, T. I. Michaels, J. Flahaut and P. E. Geissler
Pervasive aeolian activity along rover Curiosity's traverse in Gale Crater, Mars
Geology (Boulder) (February 2013) 41 (4): 483-486


The NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, has safely landed near a 35-km-long dark dune field in Gale Crater on Mars. This dune field crosses the landing site from the northeast to the southwest and lies along Curiosity's traverse to Aeolis Mons. Here we present the first evidence of recent aeolian activity in the form of ripple and dune migration, and further estimate wind directions within the dune field through analysis of ripple and dune morphologies and the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS). We measured a minimum ripple migration rate of 0.66 m per Earth year, and dune migration rate of 0.4 m per Earth year, in the southwest portion of the field. A strongly bidirectional ripple crestline orientation, nearly orthogonal dune slipfaces, and linear seif or oblique dunes indicate a bidirectional wind regime with winds mainly coming from the ENE and from the northwest; however, MRAMS results indicate primary winds from the ENE. Our constraints on the wind regime provide the unique opportunity to use ground measurements from MSL to test the accuracy of winds predicted from orbital data.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 41
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Pervasive aeolian activity along rover Curiosity's traverse in Gale Crater, Mars
Affiliation: SETI Institute, Carl Sagan Center, Mountain View, CA, United States
Pages: 483-486
Published: 20130207
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 23
Accession Number: 2013-023711
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2013126
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
Secondary Affiliation: University of Coimbra, PRT, PortugalUniversity of Alabama, USA, United StatesJacobs University, DEU, GermanyUniversite Paris XI, FRA, FranceU. S. Geological Survey,
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201315
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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