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Sublimation waves: Geomorphic markers of interactions between icy planetary surfaces and winds

Abstract : Sublimation waves are periodic, linear and transverse bedforms that grow by sublimation of icy substrates under turbulent winds. They occur in different environments of the Earth and other planets, where the climate is favorable to sublimation. Their morphological and kinematic characteristics (wavelength, migration velocity, characteristic time of formation) depend on the environmental conditions in which they develop (atmosphere viscosity, wind speed, sublimation rate). To highlight these relations, we designed a theoretical model for their formation, based on models previously designed for dissolution bedforms. From a linear stability analysis of the model, we derived a dispersion relation and three scaling laws. These are validated by comparison with measurements available for two natural terrestrial examples (Blue Ice Areas of the Antarctic ice sheets and ice caves) and with new measurements in a laboratory experiment. They are applied to linear bedforms, of hitherto unknown origin, that we identified on the Martian North Polar Cap. We thus demonstrate that sublimation waves are convenient geomorphic markers to constrain surface compositions, atmospheric properties, climates, and winds on terrestrial ice sheets and other icy planetary surfaces.
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Contributor : Olivier Bourgeois <>
Submitted on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 12:52:18 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 26, 2020 - 3:31:22 PM


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M Bordiec, S Carpy, O Bourgeois, C. Herny, M Massé, et al.. Sublimation waves: Geomorphic markers of interactions between icy planetary surfaces and winds. Earth-Science Reviews, Elsevier, In press, ⟨10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103350⟩. ⟨hal-02975787⟩



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