LPL Colloquium: Dr. Mackenzie Day

Wind-driven Landscape Change on Mars

Dr. Mackenzie Day
Assistant Professor
UCLA Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences

Wind on Mars transports sediment around the planet, forming mobile bedforms and carving bedrock into aerodynamic morphologies. Deposits of lithified aeolian sandstones reflect more ancient aeolian activity and preserve information about climatic and wind variability. The wind-formed features on the surface of Mars reflect the history of winds in the area and are a key tool for climatic reconstruction. We use wind-formed surface features to interpret and reconstruct the ancient winds and availability of sediments. In Jezero crater, the Mars 2020 rover landing site, surface features indicate two long-lived wind directions have shaped the area. To the west, sedimentary deposits abound in Arabia Terra, including a paleo-dune field accumulation in Barth crater. Ancient curvilinear terrain in this region was mapped and interpreted as evidence of large-scale repeated wetting and drying sequences during the Hesperian-Noachian climate transition that preserved barchan and transverse aeolian dune strata. These case studies demonstrate the utility of sedimentology-based reconstruction and suggest that wind has left many more signatures on the martian surface.

Host: Dr. Jack Holt


February 25, 2020 3:45pm