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The influence of local topography for wind direction on Mars: two examples of dune fields in crater basins


Marco Cardinale, International Research School of Planetary Sciences, Università G. D'Annunzio, Viale Pindaro 42, 65127 Pescara, Italy. E-mail:


In this work, we perform an analysis of large dark dunes within Moreux Crater and Herschel Crater on Mars using High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and Context Camera (CTX) data sets. These data allow us to conduct a detailed analysis of dune morphology and slip faces, concluding that the studied dune fields are influenced by topographically-controlled complex wind directions. Our morphological analysis reveals that inside Moreux Crater in particular, the topographic setting dominates the wind flow direction, leading to the development of a sand transport pathway encircling the central peak of the crater. The dune fields in Herschel Crater are also affected by winds controlled by variable topography as suggested by the presence of complex dunes and dune fields. Our analysis indicate that the studied dune systems is not the result of paleo-wind regimes. Furthermore, we perform thermal inertia measurements using thermal emission spectrometer (TES) data, which indicate that the studied dune fields consist of medium sand 250–500 µm in diameter. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.