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The formation of gullies on Mars today

Colin M. Dundas, Alfred S. McEwen, Serina Diniega, Candice J. Hansen, Shane Byrne and Jim N. McElwaine
The formation of gullies on Mars today (in Martian gullies and their Earth analogues, Susan J. Conway (editor), J. L. Carrivick (editor), P. A. Carling (editor), T. de Haas (editor) and Tanya N. Harrison (editor))
Special Publication - Geological Society of London (2019) 467: 67-94


A decade of high-resolution monitoring has revealed extensive activity in fresh Martian gullies. Flows within the gullies are diverse: they can be relatively light, neutral or dark, colourful or bland, and range from superficial deposits to 10 m-scale topographic changes. We observed erosion and transport of material within gullies, new terraces, freshly eroded channel segments, migrating sinuous curves, channel abandonment, and lobate deposits. We also observed early stages of gully initiation, demonstrating that these processes are not merely modifying pre-existing landforms. The timing of activity closely correlates with the presence of seasonal CO (sub 2) frost, so the current changes must be part of ongoing gully formation that is driven largely by its presence. We suggest that the cumulative effect of many flows erodes alcoves and channels, and builds lobate aprons, with no involvement of liquid water. Instead, flows may be fluidized by sublimation of entrained CO (sub 2) ice or other mechanisms. The frequent activity is likely to have erased any features dating from high-obliquity periods, so fresh gully geomorphology at middle and high latitudes is not evidence for past liquid water. CO (sub 2) ice-driven processes may have been important throughout Martian geological history and their deposits could exist in the rock record, perhaps resembling debris-flow sediments.

ISSN: 0305-8719
Serial Title: Special Publication - Geological Society of London
Serial Volume: 467
Title: The formation of gullies on Mars today
Title: Martian gullies and their Earth analogues
Author(s): Dundas, Colin M.McEwen, Alfred S.Diniega, SerinaHansen, Candice J.Byrne, ShaneMcElwaine, Jim N.
Author(s): Conway, Susan J.editor
Author(s): Carrivick, J. L.editor
Author(s): Carling, P. A.editor
Author(s): de Haas, T.editor
Author(s): Harrison, Tanya N.editor
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Astrogeology Science Center, Flagstaff, AZ, United States
Pages: 67-94
Published: 2019
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of London, London, United Kingdom
References: 134
Accession Number: 2019-032141
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table
Secondary Affiliation: University of Arizona, USA, United StatesCalifornia Institute of Technology, USA, United StatesPlanetary Science Institute, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from The Geological Society, London, London, United Kingdom
Update Code: 201908
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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