High-resolution investigations of Transverse Aeolian Ridges on Mars

Berman, Daniel C.; Balme, Matthew R.; Michalski, Joseph R.; Clark, Stacey C. and Joseph, Emily C.S. (2018). High-resolution investigations of Transverse Aeolian Ridges on Mars. Icarus, 312 pp. 247–266.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2018.05.003


Transverse Aeolian Ridges (TARs) are the most pervasive aeolian feature on Mars. Their small size requires high-resolution data for thorough analyses. We have utilized Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX) and High Resolution Image Stereo Experiment (HiRISE) images, along with MRO Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) spectroscopic data to study TARs in detail. TAR deposits, along with related dark dune material and layered terrains, have been mapped in six study areas in order to identify sediment pathways and determine whether TARs are sourced locally or from global wind-borne materials. TAR morphology and orientation were mapped in grids within each study area; the results show that TARs are probably locally sourced. We constructed four HiRISE Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) to measure TAR heights, widths, spacing, areas, symmetry, and to calculate sediment volumes. Results show that TARs have average heights of ∼1.5 m, are very symmetrical, and are similar in form to terrestrial megaripples. Orthorectified HiRISE images taken 3 years apart were analyzed for TAR movement and none was found. Superposed craters on equatorial TARs give ages of ∼2 Ma, suggesting that these are relatively ancient and generally inactive aeolian deposits. CRISM data were analyzed over TAR deposits, dark dune material, and light-toned terrains. Although the surfaces were somewhat obscured by dust cover, the results did not show any remarkable difference between TARs and other deposits. We conclude that TARs may be sourced from local materials and form in a similar way to terrestrial megaripples.

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