How do spiral troughs form on Mars?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-367
Number of pages3
JournalGeology
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2004

Fingerprint

Mars
trough
ice cap
eolian process
ice flow
bifurcation
ablation
train
surface temperature
melting
dust
ice

Keywords

  • Ablation
  • Ice cap
  • Mars
  • Polar
  • Spiral trough

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

Cite this

How do spiral troughs form on Mars? / Pelletier, Jon.

In: Geology, Vol. 32, No. 4, 04.2004, p. 365-367.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pelletier, Jon. / How do spiral troughs form on Mars?. In: Geology. 2004 ; Vol. 32, No. 4. pp. 365-367.
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