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Volumetric Changes of Mud on Mars: Evidence From Laboratory Simulations

Broz, P. and Krýza, O. and Patočka, V. and Pěnkavová, S. and Conway, S. and Mazzini, A. and Hauber, Ernst and Sylvest, M.E. and Patel, Manish (2023) Volumetric Changes of Mud on Mars: Evidence From Laboratory Simulations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 128 (12), e2023JE007950. Wiley. doi: 10.1029/2023JE007950. ISSN 2169-9097.

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Official URL: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2023JE007950


Subtle mounds have been discovered in the source areas of Martian kilometer-sized flows and on top of summit areas of domes. These features have been suggested to be related to subsurface sediment mobilization, opening questions regarding their formation mechanisms. Previous studies hypothesized that they mark the position of feeder vents through which mud was brought to the surface. Two theories have been proposed: (a) ascent of more viscous mud during the late stage of eruption and (b) expansion of mud within the conduit due to the instability of water under Martian conditions. Here, we present experiments performed inside a low-pressure chamber designed to investigate whether the volume of mud changes when exposed to a Martian atmospheric pressure. Depending on the mud viscosity, we observe a volumetric increase of up to 30% at the Martian average pressure of ∼6 mbar. The reason is that the low pressure causes instability of the water within the mud, leading to the bubble formation that increases the volume of the mixture. This mechanism bears resemblance to the volumetric changes associated with the degassing of terrestrial lava or mud volcano eruptions caused by a rapid pressure drop. We conclude that the mounds associated with putative Martian sedimentary volcanoes might indeed be explained by volumetric changes in the mud. We also show that mud flows on Mars and elsewhere in the Solar System could behave differently to those found on Earth because mud dynamics are affected by the formation of bubbles in response to the different atmospheric pressures.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/201975/
Document Type:Article
Title:Volumetric Changes of Mud on Mars: Evidence From Laboratory Simulations
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Broz, P.Institute of Geophysics, The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR),Prague 4, Czech RepublicUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Krýza, O.Institute of Geophysics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech RepublicUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Patočka, V.Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Department of Geophysics, Charles University, Prague, Czech RepublicUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Pěnkavová, S.Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech RepublicUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Conway, S.Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique–UMR CNRS 6112, Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Mazzini, A.Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, 0371, Oslo, NorwayUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Hauber, ErnstUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1375-304XUNSPECIFIED
Sylvest, M.E.Open University, Milton-Keynes (UK)UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Patel, ManishOpen University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:December 2023
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:e2023JE007950
Keywords:Mars, water, sediment, volcanism, laboratory experiments
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Robotics
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RO - Robotics
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Planetary Exploration, R - Planetary Evolution and Life
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geology
Deposited By: Hauber, Ernst
Deposited On:11 Jan 2024 08:18
Last Modified:11 Jan 2024 08:18

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