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Groundwater seepage landscapes from distant and local sources in experiments and on Mars

Marra, W. and McLelland, S.J. and Parsons, D.R. and Murphy, B.J. and Hauber, Ernst and Kleinhans, M. (2015) Groundwater seepage landscapes from distant and local sources in experiments and on Mars. Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf) (3), pp. 389-408. Copernicus Publications. DOI: 10.5194/esurf-3-389-2015 ISSN 2196-6311

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Valleys with theater-shaped heads can form due to the seepage of groundwater and as a result of knickpoint (waterfall) erosion generated by overland flow. This ambiguity in the mechanism of formation hampers the interpretation of such valleys on Mars, particularly since there is limited knowledge of material properties. Moreover, the hydrological implications of a groundwater or surface water origin are important for our understanding of the evolution of surface features on Mars, and a quantification of valley morphologies at the landscape scale may provide diagnostic insights on the formative hydrological conditions. However, flow patterns and the resulting landscapes produced by different sources of groundwater are poorly understood. We aim to improve the understanding of the formation of entire valley landscapes through seepage processes from different groundwater sources that will provide a framework of landscape metrics for the interpretation of such systems. We study groundwater seepage from a distant source of groundwater and from infiltration of local precipitation in a series of sandbox experiments and combine our results with previous experiments and observations of the Martian surface. Key results are that groundwater flow piracy acts on valleys fed by a distant groundwater source and results in a sparsely dissected landscape of many small and a few large valleys. In contrast, valleys fed by a local groundwater source, i.e., nearby infiltration, result in a densely dissected landscape. In addition, valleys fed by a distant groundwater source grow towards that source, while valleys with a local source grow in a broad range of directions and have a strong tendency to bifurcate, particularly on flatter surfaces. We consider these results with respect to two Martian cases: Louros Valles shows properties of seepage by a local source of groundwater and Nirgal Vallis shows evidence of a distant source, which we interpret as groundwater flow from Tharsis.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/100488/
Document Type:Article
Title:Groundwater seepage landscapes from distant and local sources in experiments and on Mars
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Marra, W.Faculty of Geosciences, Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands,UNSPECIFIED
McLelland, S.J.Dep. of Geography Environment andEarth Sciences, University of Hull, United KingdomUNSPECIFIED
Parsons, D.R.Dep. of Geography Environment andEarth Sciences, University of Hull, United KingdomUNSPECIFIED
Murphy, B.J.Dep. of Geography Environment and Earth Sciences, University of Hull, United KingdomUNSPECIFIED
Hauber, Ernsternst.hauber (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Kleinhans, M.Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The NetherlandsUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf)
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.5194/esurf-3-389-2015
Page Range:pp. 389-408
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Keywords:Mars, water, fluvial processes, groundwater, climate
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Projekt MARS-EXPRESS / HRSC
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geology
Deposited By: Hauber, Ernst
Deposited On:04 Dec 2015 15:27
Last Modified:08 Mar 2018 18:38

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