Formation of Martian araneiforms by gas-driven erosion of granular material

Authors

  • S. de Villiers,

    Corresponding author
    1. Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Blindern, Norway
    2. Now at Naturfag Avdeling, Sogn og Fjordane University College, Sogndal, Norway
    • Corresponding author: S. de Villiers, Naturfag Avdeling, Sogn og Fjordane University College, Postboks 133, NO-6851 Sogndal, Norway. (simondev@hisf.no)

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  • A. Nermoen,

    1. Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Blindern, Norway
    2. Now at International Research Institute of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway
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  • B. Jamtveit,

    1. Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Blindern, Norway
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  • J. Mathiesen,

    1. Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Blindern, Norway
    2. Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • P. Meakin,

    1. Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Blindern, Norway
    2. Carbon Resource Management Department, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA
    3. Multiphase Flow Assurance Innovation Center, Institute for Energy Technology, Kjeller, Norway
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  • S. C. Werner

    1. Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Blindern, Norway
    2. Centre for Advance Study at the Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo, Norway
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Abstract

[1] Sublimation at the lower surface of a seasonal sheet of translucent CO2 ice at high southern latitudes during the Martian spring, and rapid outflow of the CO2 gas generated in this manner through holes in the ice, has been proposed as the origin of dendritic 100 m–1 km scale branched channels known as spiders or araneiforms and dark dust fans deposited on top of the ice. We show that patterns very similar to araneiforms are formed in a Hele-Shaw cell filled with an unconsolidated granular material by slowly deforming the upper wall upward and allowing it to return rapidly to its original position to drive air and entrained particles through a small hole in the upper wall. Straight, braided and quasiperiodic oscillating channels, unlike meandering channels on Earth were also formed.

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