Abstract

Estimates of submarine channel discharges have been combined with an existing data set of measured fluvial discharges to produce generalized bankfull hydraulic geometry relationships. Previous analysis implies that generalized hydraulic geometry relationships are universal across channels formed under a range of gravity conditions. Here we use data from two different subaqueous channel systems formed by flows with distinct buoyancy characteristics to test whether generalized hydraulic geometry relationships apply in reduced gravity environments where channels tend to have relatively steep slopes. On this basis and assuming formative (bankfull) conditions, we derive estimates of Martian paleodischarges and provide better constrained estimates of Martian paleochannel slopes and flow depths, direct measurements of which are otherwise elusive due to structural deformation and erosion since formation. The steeper slopes in reduced gravity environments tend toward greater Froude numbers at formative discharge conditions; this has implications for bedform dynamics and preservation.

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