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Megaripples at Wau-an-Namus, Libya: A new analog for similar features on Mars




  • Foroutan, M., Steinmetz, G., Zimbelman, James R. and Duguay, C. R.


  • Transverse Aeolian Ridges (TARs) are curious aeolian megaripples on Mars, but there are few sites identified thus far to study as terrestrial analogs. A new terrestrial analog site for TARs has been found in and around an isolated volcano caldera in the Sahara Desert of Libya. The Wau-an-Namus volcano is potentially active and recognizable from space because of its strong albedo contrast. Wau-an-Namus has large dark aeolian megaripple bedforms, with the same horizontal length scales and overall planform patterns as observed for TARs on Mars. Some new patterns for these TAR-like features also have been found at Wau-an-Namus, such as stripe-like and clustered patterns, which may shed new light on the formation of these features on both planets. Other aeolian features such as sand dunes and dust devil tracks are also evident in this region. This is the first terrestrial analog site with dark megaripple features, similar to some TARs on Mars. The dark halo around Wau-an-Namus, visible from space, represents a unique site to study the formation and evolution of these mysterious features, and thereby further our understanding of the probable recent history of the wind regime on Mars.

Published In

Publication Date

  • 2019



Digital Object Identifier (doi)

Additional Document Info

Start Page

  • 840

End Page

  • 851


  • 319