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Modeling Eolian Processes and Landforms on Earth and Mars

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Pelletier (Univ of AZ)

Numerical models of eolian processes have come into their own in the last fifteen years. In this talk I will describe how 3D coupled models of boundary layer flow and erosion/ deposition work and describe their application to eolian processes and landforms on Earth and Mars. I will make the case that eolian ripples and dunes on Earth are controlled by the aerodynamic roughness length, which, in areas of complete sand cover, is controlled by the grain size of the sand comprising the bed. This model should also work on Mars and makes some interesting predictions. I will also talk about how coarse clasts migrate on the surface of Mars without being picked up by the wind, and I will show how this leads to the nonrandom spatial distributions of clasts documented near the Spirit rover site.

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