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Lifting Grains by the Transient Low Pressure in a Martian Dust Devil

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, February 17, 2020

Tetyana Bila, Gerhard Wurm, Florence Chioma Onyeagusi, Jens Teiser

(Submitted on 14 Feb 2020)

Lifting dust and sand into the thin Martian atmosphere is a challenging problem. Atmospheric pressure excursions within dust devils have been proposed to support lifting. We verify this idea in laboratory experiments. Pressure differences up to a few Pa are applied along particle layers of 50 to 400 μm. As samples we used glass beads of ∼50 μm diameter and irregular basalt grains of ∼20 μm in size. The total ambient pressure of air was set to 600 Pa. Particles are ejected at pressure differences as low as 2.0 ± 0.8 Pa. In the case of glass beads, the ejected grains returning to the particle bed can trigger new particle ejections as they reduce cohesion and release the tension from other grains. Therefore, few impacting grains might be sufficient to sustain dust lifting in a dust devil at even lower pressure differences. Particle lift requires a very thin, ∼100 μm, low permeability particle layer on top of supporting ground with larger pore space. Assuming this, our experiments support the idea that pressure excursions in Martian dust devils release grains from the ground.

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Journal reference: Icarus 339 (2020) 113569

Cite as: arXiv:2002.06064 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2002.06064v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Gerhard Wurm 

[v1] Fri, 14 Feb 2020 14:59:31 UTC (9,485 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/2002.06064

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