Martian TARs

Dr. Jim Zimbelman
Sharon Purdy

Figure 1. Mars Orbiter Camera narrow angle image showing typical, light-toned TARs in Nirgal Vallis, near 27.83°S, 316.66°E, in E02-02651; illuminated from upper left. NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems1.

More than on Earth, wind plays a dominant process in modifying the surface of Mars. A variety of wind-generated features imaged on Mars speaks to the differences between the sister planets; not only is wind more prevalent on Mars, but also wind produces distincive features, such as traverse aeolian ridges (TARs), on Mars. A systematic study of TARs (Figure 1) revealed insight into these enigmatic landforms. Most TARs are located within /- 50° latitude at elevations ranging from -5 km to 3 km, with particularly high frequency between -1 km to 0 km1. Additionally, these ridges often occur in association with the Channel System Materials and the Olymnpus Mons Aureole1. Further insight into their latitude-dependent nature and key physical attributes has expanded our knowledge of TARs immensely, but much more investigation is needed to answer the big questions pertaining to conditions in which they formed.

See Project Summary >>

1. Wilson and Zimbelman et al. (2004), Latitude-dependent nature and physical characteristics of transverse aeolian ridges on Mars.