Small Landslides in Aram-Ares Channel, Mars

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Erin R Kraal and Jenae Shoup, Department of Physical Science, Kutztown, PA, United States
An east-west channel (located at 341°E and 3°N) connects Aram Chaos to Ares Valles. The valley is approximately 80 km long, 12 km wide, and 1.5 km deep. The channel is filled with a series of slope failures or landslides that form lobate aprons covering the valley floor. Preliminary studies of the valley on the north wall of the valley (south facing) characterized 6 landslides using gridded MOLA topography from JMARS, including area, drop height and run out distance. These relatively small landslides have surface areas ranging from 5.6 to 55 km2. Their aprons run out ~ 10 km, often covering the entire width of the valley floor. Drop height was measured using both maximum and minimum estimates due to resolution limits of the topography and ranged from 1200 to 2200 meters. Using the drop height and run out distance, we determine the coefficient of friction and maximum velocity for two of the landslides using previously established landslide equations based on physical properties. The coefficient of friction for the landslide events ranged from 0.5 to 1.5, which corresponds to a maximum landslide velocity of 87 m/s2 to 96 m/s2. The variations in the coefficients may be due to landslides size, relative size, or possible volatile or ice content. Preliminary geomorphic surface mapping is currently under way to identify the relationship between the aprons and the channel floor, relative age of the landslides, and other characteristics. Initial analysis indicates the channel floor and depositional aprons have experienced deflation and eolian processes and aprons have a variable level of erosion indicating that the landslides did not form during a single event.