Modeling the formation of bright slope deposits associated with gullies in Hale Crater, Mars: Implications for recent liquid water

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26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our study investigates possible formation mechanisms of the very recent bright gully deposits (BGDs) observed on Mars in order to assess if liquid water was required. We use two models in our assessment: a one-dimensional (1D) kinematic model to model dry granular flows and a two-dimensional (2D) fluid-dynamic model, FLO-2D (O'Brien et al., 1993, FLO Engineering), to model water-rich and wet sediment-rich flows. Our modeling utilizes a high-resolution topographic model generated from a pair of images acquired by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. For the 1D kinematic modeling of dry granular flows, we examine a range of particle sizes, flow thicknesses, initial velocities, flow densities, and upslope initiation points to examine how these parameters affect the flow run-out distances of the center of mass of a flow. Our 1D modeling results show that multiple combinations of realistic parameters could produce dry granular flows that travel to within the observed deposits' boundaries. We run the 2D fluid-dynamic model, FLO-2D, to model both water-rich and wet sediment-rich flows. We vary the inflow volume, inflow location, discharge rate, water-loss rate (water-rich models only), and simulation time and examine the resulting maximum flow depths and velocities. Our 2D modeling results suggest that both wet sediment-rich and water-rich flows could produce the observed bright deposits. Our modeling shows that the BGDs are not definitive evidence of recent liquid water on the surface of Mars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-137
Number of pages25
JournalIcarus
Volume205
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Geological processes
  • Mars
  • Mars, Surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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