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Active dust devils in Gusev crater, Mars: Observations from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit

Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets

By:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , and
DOI: 10.1029/2006JE002743

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Abstract

A full dust devil "season" was observed from Spirit from 10 March 2005 (sol 421, first active dust devil observed) to 12 December 2005 (sol 691, last dust devil seen); this corresponds to the period Ls 173.2?? to 339.5??, or the southern spring and summer on Mars. Thermal Emission Spectrometer data suggest a correlation between high surface temperatures and a positive thermal gradient with active dust devils in Gusev and that Spirit landed in the waning stages of a dust devil season as temperatures decreased. 533 active dust devils were observed, enabling new characterizations; they ranged in diameter from 2 to 276 m, with most in the range of 10-20 m in diameter, and occurred from about 0930 to 1630 hours local true solar time (with the maximum forming around 1300 hours) and a peak occurrence in southern late spring (Ls ??? 250??). Horizontal speeds of the dust devils ranged from <1 to 21 m/s, while vertical wind speeds within the dust devils ranged from 0.2 to 8.8 m/s. These data, when combined with estimates of the dust content within the dust devils, yield dust fluxes of 3.95 ?? 10-9 to 4.59-4 kg/m2/s. Analysis of the dust devil frequency distribution over the inferred dust devil zone within Gusev crater yields ???50 active dust devils/km2/sol, suggesting a dust loading into the atmosphere of ???19 kg/km2/sol. This value is less than one tenth the estimates by Cantor et al. (2001) for regional dust storms on Mars. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Active dust devils in Gusev crater, Mars: Observations from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit
Series title:
Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
DOI:
10.1029/2006JE002743
Volume
111
Issue:
12
Year Published:
2006
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets