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Flow discharge and sediment transport models for estimating a minimum timescale of hydrological activity and channel and delta formation on Mars

By M.G. Kleinhans


This paper summarizes state-of-the-art models for water flow and sediment transport\ud and suggests implications for the sediment grain size distribution, transport process, and\ud delta formation. The flow velocity in Martian outflow channels is commonly calculated\ud from the Manning equation, which is dimensionally incorrect and masks the large\ud uncertainty of the reconstructed flow velocity. More modern friction predictors based on\ud surface grain size distribution are tested on 190 rivers on Earth including moderately\ud catastrophic events. The uncertainty for the flow velocity is a factor of 3–4. The sediment\ud transport is commonly assumed to amount to 40% of the water flux (hyperconcentration),\ud but this is only true for special conditions. A debris-flow origin of the channels is unlikely.\ud Application of modern sediment transport models to typical Martian conditions\ud indicates orders of magnitude smaller sediment fluxes dominated by bed load transport,\ud resulting in much larger timescales for sediment emplacement in crater lake deltas and in\ud the potential northern ocean. This is in part caused by the unexpected grain size\ud distribution of the sediment derived from observations of landers and of delta\ud morphologies. The implied duration of hydrological activity and channel and delta\ud formation is of the order of 103–106 years, which is still very short on the geological\ud timescale of Mar

Topics: Aardwetenschappen
Year: 2005
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