Vast Deserts on Mars
- Students will be able to identify wind current direction on Earth and Mars
- Students will be able to explain why certain morphologies of dunes form
- Using Google Earth students will be able to identify changing paleocurrent direction, bounding surfaces and their potential to be observed/preserved on Mars.
Context for Use
This learning module is meant for adaptation in an introductory earth science course and/or planetary science course. The In-Class Activities can be easily adapted for homework when desired.
Description and Teaching Materials
- In-Class Activity 1: Sandbox Dunes (Acrobat (PDF) 2.1MB Jun1 13)
- In-Class Activity 2: Martian Ventifacts (Acrobat (PDF) 4.3MB Jun1 13)
- Homework 1: Bounding through Dunes (Acrobat (PDF) 1.6MB Jun1 13)
Teaching Notes and Tips
- In-Class Activities above are student versions only. Instructor versions are available as webpages to the left in the left-hand navigation bar under this module.
- In-Class Activities are intended to be instructor-guided without the use of worksheets. The Image File in Resources will allow for ease in implementation.
- For larger classes (>20 students) you can either create your own Sandbox Dune demonstration (see Resources) or use our Video demonstration. **Coming Soon**
- In Homework 1: students will need a clear understanding of how dunes are manifested in the rock record (marching away from you, toward you, paleocurrent direction etc.).
- Often, you will integrate the Explanation and Exploration sections of the In-Class Activities. Interact with the students as they "explore" and help them define terms/principles they should become familiar with (Ex: Sandbox Dunes).
Methods of assessment are within each individual In-Class Activity and Homework.
References and Resources
- In-Class Activity Image file: Vast Deserts on Mars Image File (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 7.8MB Oct31 12)
- Sand Box Dune Video **Coming Soon**
- Antarctica Ventifacts (Image right)
- Grotzinger, J.P. et al., 2005. Stratigraphy and sedimentology of a dry to wet eolian depositional system, Burns formation, Meridiani Planum, Mars. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, v. 240, p.11-72.
- Burns Formation PanCam Sol 288 Image Source: http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/288/1P153752565ESF37MIP2544L7M1.HTML