Abundant wind-related features occur along Spirit's traverse into the Columbia Hills over the basaltic plains of Gusev Crater. Most of the windblown sands are probably derived from weathering of rocks within the crater, and possibly from deposits associated with Ma'adim Vallis. Windblown particles act as agents of abrasion, forming ventifacts, and are organized in places, into various bed forms. Wind-related features seen from orbit, results from atmospheric models, and considerations of topography suggest that the general wind patterns and transport pathways involve: (1) winter nighttime winds that carry sediments from the mouth of Ma'adim. Vallis into the landing site area of Spirit, where they are mixed with locally derived sediments, and (2) winter daytime winds that transport the sediments from the landing site southeast toward Husband Hill; similar patterns occur in the summer but with weaker winds. Reversals of daytime flow out of Gusev Crater and nighttime wind flow into the crater can account for the symmetry of the bed forms and bimodal orientations of some ventifacts. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Columbia Hills, Mars: Aeolian features seen from the ground and orbit