Loose sand, blown away from source regions by winds, is transported across Mars’s surface into sand sheets and dunes and accumulates within topographic sinks. In the absence of plate tectonics, impact craters constitute a dominant sink for windblown sediments on Mars today. We analyzed the volume of all mapped eolian sands in martian craters >1 km in diameter to reveal spatiotemporal patterns of sediment accumulation on the planet’s surface. We combined our results with global climate simulations, maps of depth to the ice table and dust cover, as well as lithologic and age information of the underlying geologic units, to better understand the controls on intracrater sand accumulation rates. We find that crater age, latitude, and lithology influence the accumulation rate of windblown sand and, notably, that it is enhanced in mechanically weaker substrates, high-latitude craters (suggesting that modern cryogenic processes may enhance sand production), and in Late Noachian and Early Hesperian craters (possibly hinting at increased erosion rates at that time).

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