Transverse Aeolian Ridges: Blue Ripples on a Red Planet

Transverse Aeolian Ridges Blue Ripples Mars

This HiRISE image shows a variety of wind-related features near the center of Gamboa Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Mars may be the Red Planet, but false-color images like this one can help us learn about its weather and geology. This High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) image shows a variety of wind-related features on Mars near the center of Gamboa Crater, an impact crater that lies at the transition from Chryse Planitia to Acidalia Planitia. Larger sand dunes form sinuous crests and individual domes.

There are tiny ripples on the tops of the dunes that are only several feet from crest to crest. These merge into larger mega-ripples that are about 30 feet apart and radiate outward from the dunes. The larger, brighter formations that are roughly parallel are known as “Transverse Aeolian Ridges” (TAR). These TAR are covered with very coarse sand.

The mega-ripples appear blue-green on one side of an enhanced color cutout while the TAR appear brighter blue on the other. This could be because the TAR are actively moving under the force of the wind, clearing away darker dust and making them brighter. All of these different features can indicate which way the wind was blowing when they formed. Being able to study such variety so close together allows us to see their relationships and compare and contrast features to examine what they are made of and how they formed.

2 Comments on "Transverse Aeolian Ridges: Blue Ripples on a Red Planet"

  1. Clyde Spencer | July 27, 2022 at 7:45 am | Reply

    “… false-color images like this one …”
    Which bands are mapped to the RGB channels of the output display device?

  2. Bumblehoot Brambling | July 31, 2022 at 2:36 am | Reply

    @Clyde Spencer those would be lap bands from my relative-in-laws’ gastric bypass surgery. She had the original bands replaced with new ones and then took the old ones and stuffed em on up into the output display device. She had no regrets and the RBG channels are now producing what you are seeing. She’s also lost over 100lbs but I honestly hate her and think she’s a cheater and a cop out by going the easy route. They required her to initially lose a good amount of weight naturally through diet change and highly frequent exercise before they would even perform the surgery to begin with. It was a substantial amount of weight loss they required (~60lbs) before the surgery which had me wondering why she wouldn’t just continue with the natural route as it was already working wonders without needing the surgery?? I didn’t and don’t understand the decision to get the surgery after already successfully losing weight naturally via healthy diet change and frequent exercise.

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