GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 86-8
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


DINIEGA, Serina, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, M/S 321-630, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, KHULLER, Aditya, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109, SCHULTZ, Priscilla, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109; University of California/Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, FLORES ESPINOZA, Rodrigo, University of California/Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109, NIELD, Joanna M., Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, University Road, Highfield, Southampton, SO171BJ, United Kingdom, WIGGS, Giles F.S., School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, United Kingdom and BADDOCK, Matthew C., Department of Geography, Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom

While studies of aeolian sand dunes on different planetary bodies have yielded much information on the evolution of these features, little is known about the way in which dunes are first initiated. “Protodunes” are the small sand patches that eventually become large organized sand piles, and it is not known which environmental factors control the genesis and evolution of these early stage aeolian bedforms. A UK NERC-US NSF supported project to study The Origin of Aeolian Dunes (TOAD) seeks to address this question via detailed field measurements on the Earth; an additional focus of this work is to identify potential protodunes on Mars and to compare their morphometrics and spacing to their terrestrial analogs, as well as to characterize their local environment for a comparison with environmental controls identified via the terrestrial field studies. This presentation will focus on the Martian investigation, describing our methodology for identifying protodunes and trends seen in the morphometrics, spacing, and environments of such features. Potential protodunes will be identified within HiRISE images, their morphometrics and spacing will be determined from orbiter-images (including MOC, CTX, and HRSC), and their environmental characteristics will be determined via orbiter-spectral data (such as CRISM and THEMIS). Preliminary comparison between observations of protodunes on Mars and the Earth will also be shared.