Science and Exploration

Windswept Dunes At Hellespontus Monte On Mars

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
April 20, 2023
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Windswept Dunes At Hellespontus Monte On Mars
Hellespontus Montes

The Hellespontus Montes is a rugged mountain range located on the western rim of one of the largest impact basins in the Solar System: Hellas Basin.

The 7-kilometer depth of Hellas and its location in the Southern Hemisphere form an active atmospheric system that directly impacts local landscape evolution. Hellespontus has a large accumulation of sand dunes and other wind-created bedforms that have been migrating on a continual basis since HiRISE began imaging Mars. A dune’s steepest area, called a “slip face,” indicates the down-wind side of the dune and its migration direction as driven by local winds.

At this location, there are many dunes influenced by eastward winds that were draining into Hellas. Meanwhile, other locations show that migration had shifted towards the opposite direction to the west. In certain cases, we see these opposing dune directions in proximity. The complex patterns are not due to winds that are constant in magnitude or direction, but rather they wax and wane over the course of the Martian

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SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.