A Spatial Analysis of Gullies on Mars
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The purpose of this thesis is to improve the knowledge of Martian gully origins. This study specifically analyzes Martian surface composition, gully structure, and the spatial distribution of gullies. Gully badlands are digitized, and branching ratio vs. various elements composing the surface of Mars, is calculated. The spatial dispersion of gullies is determined to be clustered away from the equator. Few gullies are found within 30° of the equator. Gully sites are overlayed with surface composition data, both elemental and geologic, and findings show the surface of Mars is both a patchwork of minerals and a patchwork of geologic time zones. Evidence is found that indicates gullies are found in areas high in chlorine and low in water, potassium, iron, and silicon. A decision tree is created to help predict where gullies may occur. Taken together, these findings implicate brine as the likely fluid source for gullies on Mars. Findings also imply the water flow models presented by Clancy (1996) and Kuzmin (2006) may play a role in the formation of Martian gullies.