Chas Jones, Ph.D.

New discovery of hydro-geomorphic process (on Mars)

New discovery of hydro-geomorphic process (on Mars)

A recent New discovery of a hydrologic process has geomorphic implications in simulated environments similar to those on the planet Mars.  When the experiment using salty brine water was performed at atmospheric pressures found on Earth, soil was wetted as expected, but there was no movement of the soil particles, thus there was little to no impact on the geomorphic conditions.  However, when soil was wetted with salty water under very low atmospheric pressure and low temperatures (similar to those on Mars), the below video shows how the soil water boils or “pops” (transitioning from its liquid state to a gaseous state) and flings soil particles downslope.  Over time, this process is able to move substantial amounts of soil particles in the downhill direction and allow for geomorphic evolution of the landscape!  How cool is that!  A new discovery of hydro-geomorphic processes!  Science is so cool!

See National Geographic’s discussion of the study that was published in this Nature GeoScience article.

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