Duststones on Mars: source, transport, deposition and erosion

SEPM Special Publication
By:  and 
Edited by: John P. Grotzinger and Ralph E. Milliken


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Dust is an abundant material on Mars, and there is strong evidence that it is a contributor to the rock record as “duststone,” analogous in many ways to loess on Earth. Although a common suite of dust formation mechanisms has operated on the two planets, fundamental differences in environments and geologic histories have resulted in vastly different weighting functions, causing distinct depositional styles and erosional mechanisms. On Earth, dust is derived predominantly from glacial grinding and, in nonglacial environments, by other processes, such as volcanism, eolian abrasion, and fluvial comminution. Hydrological and biological processes convert dust accumulations to loess deposits. Active hydrology also acts to clean dust from the atmosphere and convert loess into soil or erode it entirely. On Mars, glacial production of dust has been minor, with most fine particles probably produced from ancient volcanic, impact, and fluvial processes. Dust is deposited under arid conditions in which aggregate growth and cementation are the stabilizing agents. Thick accumulations result in duststone.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Duststones on Mars: source, transport, deposition and erosion
Series title SEPM Special Publication
Volume 120
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Society for Sedimentary Geology
Contributing office(s) Geology and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 169
Last page 182
Other Geospatial Mars
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N