Billion-Year-Old Sand Dunes Preserved On Mars, Revealed By NASA

Billion-Year-Old Sand Dunes Preserved On Mars, Revealed By NASA

Experts discovered a windswept field of solid sand on Mars, and this turned out to be a billion years old. This frozen plain of palaeo-dunes is very eroded, but they managed to withstand time extremely well. 

Science Alert notes that understanding how these duneforms managed to stand the test of time could give people insight into the sedimentary processes on Mars and reveal something about the planet’s geologic history at the same time as well.

“This level of preservation is rare for terrestrial sand dunes due to ongoing erosion and tectonics,” according to planetary scientist Matthew Chojnacki from the Planetary Science Institute.

He continued and said that “Based on the dune deposit’s relationships to other geologic units and modern erosion rates we estimate these to be roughly a billion years old.”

These days, the sand dunes on mars whipped up by the wind are a pretty common feature, and the size and arrangement of the dunes are pretty similar to the ones that are formed more recently. 

Dunes in the Melas Chasma

According to Science Alert, they are fixed in place in the widest part of the Valles Marineris canyon – the Melas Chasma.

All of this means that the climate and atmosphere on the Red Planet have changed very little in a very long time. According to the experts, the orientation, height, length, shape, and slope of the Melas Chasma palaeo-dunes are similar to the ones that are seen in other locations on Mars.

“This indicates the major wind directions that are responsible for the dunes’ shape have not changed substantially over time,” Chojnacki told EarthSky.

He continued and explained that “We also see very similarly sized and spaced sand dunes from the two time periods. This may indicate the atmospheric pressure wasn’t significantly different.”Check out the complete original article in order to find out more interesting details. 


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