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The role of meta-stable fluids in present-day surface processes on Mars: a laboratory investigation

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Matouš Ptáček.

High resolution repeat-imaging of the martian surface has revealed that it is more active than we once thought. Aeolian processes have been observed in action, including ripple-migration and dust-devil tracks, but a greater surprise was the discovery of seasonally elongating RSL (recurring slope lineae) and modifications to gully-like forms. Both these features resemble flows of liquid water, yet this phase of water is not stable under current martian conditions. The alternative is that these features are formed by sublimation of solid carbon dioxide, which is deposited directly from the atmosphere each winter. However there is no good terrestrial analogue for this process to guide and constrain our interpretations. In this seminar, I’ll present some results from on-going laboratory simulation experiments in the Mars Chamber at the Open University in Milton Keynes. The objective of these unique experiments is to investigate the sediment transport capacity and behaviour of metastable liquid water and of sublimating carbon-dioxide under present martian conditions.

This talk is part of the Sedgwick Club talks series.

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