2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 202-13
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


DAY, Mackenzie D.1, KOCUREK, Gary2, BRIDGES, Nathan T.3, EWING, Ryan4, ANDERSON, William5, NEWMAN, Claire E.6, MARTÍN-TORRES, F. Javier7, ZORZANO, María-Paz8, ULLÁN, Aurora8 and SCIENCE TEAM, MSL9, (1)Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78751, (2)Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C9000, Austin, TX 78712, (3)Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, MD 20723, (4)Department of Geology and Geophysics, Texas A&M University, MS 3115, College Station, TX 77843, (5)School of Engineering and Computer Science, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798, (6)Ashima Research, 600 S. Lake Avenue, Suite 104, Pasadena, CA 91106, (7)Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra, Granada, Spain, (8)Centro de Astrobiología, Madrid, Spain, (9)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91011

Evidence for aeolian processes on Mars has long been recognized from both surface and orbital observations. Wind is likely the primary agent for current planetary resurfacing. In Gale Crater, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity provides an opportunity to combine study of aeolian processes at the outcrop scale with observations from satellites. The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) instrument provides contextual information about the current winds in Gale. Evidence for a history of wind erosion in Gale ranges in scale from Mt. Sharp and the geomorphology of the terrain within the crater, to yardangs, ventifacts and streamlined nodules. Local depositional processes within the crater are evident by dunes, sand shadows and wind ripples. Combined, these features record the history of wind directions in Gale over a very large span of time. Analysis includes tests for scale dependence, crater-wide consistency, spatial position within the crater, and model similarity with observed wind directions. Many models attempt to characterize the history of wind in Gale Crater. This project compares present wind directions predicted by three different modeling approaches with the wind directions recorded in the surface geomorphology of Gale Crater. Modeling approaches include large eddy simulation, wind tunnel modeling, and nested mesoscale models. By comparing wind indicators at different temporal and spatial scales, this study addresses how winds in Gale Crater may have changed through time, and whether modeling efforts best reflect the ancient or modern local climate.