Potential desiccation cracks on Mars: A synthesis from modeling, analogue-field studies, and global observations

Elmaarry, Mohamed Ramy; Watters, W.; McKeown, N.K.; Carter, J.; Noe Dobrea, E.; Bishop, J.L.; Pommerol, Antoine; Thomas, Nicolas (2014). Potential desiccation cracks on Mars: A synthesis from modeling, analogue-field studies, and global observations. Icarus, 241, pp. 248-268. Elsevier 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.06.033

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Potential desiccation polygons (PDPs) are polygonal surface patterns that are a common feature in Noachian-to-Hesperian-aged phyllosilicate- and chloride-bearing terrains and have been observed with size scales that range from cm-wide (by current rovers) to 10s of meters-wide. The global distribution of PDPs shows that they share certain traits in terms of morphology and geologic setting that can aid identification and distinction from fracturing patterns caused by other processes. They are mostly associated with sedimentary deposits that display spectral evidence for the presence of Fe/Mg smectites, Al-rich smectites or less commonly kaolinites, carbonates, and sulfates. In addition, PDPs may indicate paleolacustrine environments, which are of high interest for planetary exploration, and their presence implies that the fractured units are rich in smectite minerals that may have been deposited in a standing body of water. A collective synthesis with new data, particularly from the HiRISE camera suggests that desiccation cracks may be more common on the surface of Mars than previously thought. A review of terrestrial research on desiccation processes with emphasis on the theoretical background, field studies, and modeling constraints is presented here as well and shown to be consistent with and relevant to certain polygonal patterns on Mars.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Elmaarry, Mohamed Ramy; Pommerol, Antoine and Thomas, Nicolas

Subjects:

500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering
500 Science > 530 Physics

ISSN:

0019-1035

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Cléa Serpollier

Date Deposited:

14 Apr 2015 11:08

Last Modified:

08 Oct 2015 09:28

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.icarus.2014.06.033

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.66556

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/66556

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