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Polygonated soils in the hyper-arid Atacama Desert and their relevance for patterned ground on Mars

Sager, Christof and Airo, A. and Arens, Felix and Baque, Mickael and de Vera, Jean Pierre Paul and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2018) Polygonated soils in the hyper-arid Atacama Desert and their relevance for patterned ground on Mars. 3rd Astrobiology Graduates in Europe (AbGradE) symposium, 22-24 September 2018, Berlin, Germany.

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Patterned grounds represent widespread and yet puzzling landscape features on Mars and periglacial regions on Earth and are believed to form through the repetitive deformation of the ground. A better knowledge of their distribution, morphological variability, and processes of formation can give clues about past and recent climatic conditions, the composition of the ground and presence of ground ice/water, which is critical for the search for life on Mars. The formation of patterned grounds in periglacial regions on Earth is based on the process of frost heave, where repeated freeze-thawing of water leads to the deformation of the ground (cryoturbation). On today’s Mars, the climatic conditions are not favorable for extensive freeze-thawing processes. However, vast quantities of ground ice enable frost heave processes through dry-cryoturbation. In addition, thermoturbation processes in ice-cemented soils are also assumed to be responsible for polygonated ground formation. Thereby, temperature di!erences lead to extensional and compressional forces in the salt cemented soil and can thus facilitate cracking and turbation processes. Patterned grounds are also observed in the hyper-arid Atacama Desert where cryoturbation can be excluded due to the high temperatures and thus polygonated soils do not necessarily indicate ground water. These features are assumed to have formed by a combination of thermoturbation and haloturbation where repeated precipitation and dissolution of salts deform the ground. Hence, in addition to periglacial processes (frost heave), patterned ground formation processes in hot hyper-arid regions (salt heave) should be considered for Mars as well. Therefore, we investigate the morphometric build-up of patterned grounds with photogrammetry techniques in combination with physicochemical soil analyses in the hyper-arid Atacama Desert and in periglacial Spitsbergen for comparing our results with those from Mars. Based on these data we aim to derive patterned ground formation processes and evaluate their habitability. A better understanding of patterned ground formation will also improve our understanding of the landscape evolution of the Atacama Desert, as well as for Mars and their potential past and present habitability

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/125708/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Title:Polygonated soils in the hyper-arid Atacama Desert and their relevance for patterned ground on Mars
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Sager, ChristofCenter of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Technical University BerlinUNSPECIFIED
Airo, A.Center of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Technical University Berlin, 10623 Berlin, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Arens, FelixCenter of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Technical University Berlin, 10623 Berlin, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Baque, MickaelMickael.Baque (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6696-6030
de Vera, Jean Pierre Pauljean-pierre.devera (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Schulze-Makuch, D.TU Berlin, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Atacama, Mars, analogs, patterned ground, polygonated soils
Event Title:3rd Astrobiology Graduates in Europe (AbGradE) symposium
Event Location:Berlin, Germany
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:22-24 September 2018
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Planetary Evolution and Life (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Leitungsbereich PF
Deposited By: Baqué, Dr. Mickael
Deposited On:08 Jan 2019 09:03
Last Modified:08 Jan 2019 09:03

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