The origin and evolution of contrasting albedo surfaces in the northern plains of Mars have remained enigmatic since the Mariner 9 and Viking-eras. Viking-based spacecraft observations contributed greatly to an improved understanding of northern plains surfaces, indicating that loose, mobile fines, rocks, duricrust, and bedrock can be discriminated. However, only rudimentary understandings and hypotheses currently exist for the origin and evolution of these surface materials. Given the diverse and higher-resolution data from orbiting spacecraft that are now available, we can address fundamental questions regarding the physical properties and geologic history of these surfaces. The objectives of this work are to better understand 1) how to measure and characterize the physical properties that best distinguish northern plains materials and surfaces; 2) how to distinguish between mobile surface material vs. indurated surface materials; 3) the source materials and regions and transport paths of mobile materials in relation to geologic features and local surface topography; and 4) the relative roles and timing of Amazonian northern plains geologic activity, much of which may be driven by climate change. We want to focus on low albedo surfaces that are less likely to be obscured by dust. We will address these objectives through: 1) Classifying the distribution of bulk thermal inertia values and interpreting the bulk physical surface characteristics, including properties that constrain the mobility of surface materials such as grain size distribution and degree of induration. 2) Creating a geomorphic map of surfaces and associated landforms in Acidalia Planitia that isolates characteristics that are critical to understanding the surface evolution in this region. 3) Identifying and mapping seasonal and decadal variations in albedo, focusing on the margins of low albedo surfaces. 4) Combining landform and thermophysical mapping results to produce a comprehensive interpretation of surface evolution and the influence of geologic activity and climactic evolution..z
|Effective start/end date||2/24/10 → 12/1/13|
- DOI: US Geological Survey (USGS): $78,186.00
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