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The formation of araneiforms by carbon dioxide venting and vigorous sublimation dynamics under martian atmospheric pressure

Mc Keown, Lauren and McElwaine, J. N. and Bourke, M. C. and Sylvest, M. E. and Patel, M. R. (2021) 'The formation of araneiforms by carbon dioxide venting and vigorous sublimation dynamics under martian atmospheric pressure.', Scientific reports., 11 . p. 6445.

Abstract

The local redistribution of granular material by sublimation of the southern seasonal CO2 ice deposit is one of the most active surface shaping processes on Mars today. This unique geomorphic mechanism is hypothesised to be the cause of the dendritic, branching, spider-like araneiform terrain and associated fans and spots—features which are native to Mars and have no Earth analogues. However, there is a paucity of empirical data to test the validity of this hypothesis. Additionally, it is unclear whether some araneiform patterns began as radial and then grew outward, or whether troughs connected at mutual centres over time. Here we present the results of a suite of laboratory experiments undertaken to investigate if the interaction between a sublimating CO2 ice overburden containing central vents and a porous, mobile regolith will mobilise grains from beneath the ice in the form of a plume to generate araneiform patterns. We quantify the branching and area of the dendritic features that form. We provide the first observations of plume activity via CO2 sublimation and consequent erosion to form araneiform features. We show that CO2 sublimation can be a highly efficient agent of sediment transport under present day Martian atmospheric pressure and that morphometry is governed by the Shields parameter.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-82763-7
Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date accepted:18 January 2021
Date deposited:08 April 2021
Date of first online publication:19 March 2021
Date first made open access:08 April 2021

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