March 26, 2018

Wind-exposed layers

On Earth, layers comprising the geological record of an area are most often exposed by fluvial erosion, as a river cuts through rock (a typical example is the Grand Canyon). On Mars, fluvial channels are not so common (especially in […]
March 19, 2018

Dune trails deep in Hebes Chasma, Mars

A few weeks ago I wrote about dunes leaving behind trails near the north pole of Mars. They do this in a few other places as well, but it’s not very common. Below is a rare example, this time on […]
March 12, 2018

Wind on Mars and the Huygens-Fresnel Principle

How about some basic physics? It’ll be easy, I promise. Just look at the pretty picture below (click on it to see it better): (HiRISE ESP_045586_1585, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona) The big crater is ~400 m (1/4 mile) across. Wind blows […]
March 5, 2018

“Baby” dunes on Mars are big

Baby dunes on Mars are pretty big compared to those on Earth. In this 885×512 m (0.55×0.32 mi) frame, there are four dunes of roughly the same size, all of which are about as small as dunes can get on […]
March 1, 2018

Dune trails

There’s so much going on in this 0.75×0.75 km (0.47×0.47 mi) image. You’re looking at a broad dune migrating toward the upper right. It’s early summer, but this is close enough to the north pole that some winter ice lingers […]
February 20, 2018

Ius Chasma dunes: they move

Many dunes on Mars are actively migrating, like these dunes (view is 0.4×0.5 km, 0.25×0.31 mi). These are found deep in Ius Chasma, one of the Valles Marineris. These dunes slowly migrate toward the right, pushed by winds blowing from […]
February 12, 2018

Where dune fields begin

This is the upwind edge of a dune field (825×625 m, 0.51×0.39 mi). Winds blow down a cliff (offscreen) from the lower right, blowing sand toward the upper left. Elongated dunes have formed parallel to the resultant wind direction, only […]
February 5, 2018

Mars’ “Type A” wind

The busy, busy wind has moved a lot of things to make this 0.6×0.85 km (0.37×0.53 mi) landscape. First it built a big dark dune, covering it and the surrounding surface with ripples. Then it dumped a bunch of bright […]
January 31, 2018

The superbloodmoon and nachas

I set my alarm for 5:30 this morning. Sometimes I skip lunar eclipses, but I do try to see them if they’re total, and if I think the sky might be cloud-free (which it often isn’t in the Bay Area […]