The Second International Planetary Dunes Workshop

The Second International Planetary Dunes Workshop The Second International Planetary Dunes Workshop
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    Lunar and Planetary Institute
    phone: 281-486-2151
    fax: 281-486-2125

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Landforms and deposits created by the dynamic interactions between granular material and airflow (aeolian processes) occur on several planetary bodies, including Earth, Mars, Titan, and Venus. The recognition of landforms on other planetary bodies requires use of terrestrial analogs in a well-established methodology for interpretation of landforms observed on orbital and lander images of other planetary bodies. Based on the paradigm that morphologically similar landforms are formed in essentially the same manner on different planetary surfaces, this approach can indicate the types of surface processes and environments that occur on an unfamiliar landscape, provided that the fundamentals of the landforms and processes are well understood on Earth.

Dunes and other aeolian bedforms are a prominent part of landscapes shaped by wind action on several planetary bodies in our solar system. Despite the three decades of study of these features, many questions regarding their composition and sediment sources, morphology, age and origins, and dynamics under present and past climatic conditions remain poorly understood. Recently acquired data from orbiters and rovers together with innovative approaches using terrestrial analogs and numerical models are beginning to provide new insights into martian sand dunes, as well as aeolian bedforms on other terrestrial planetary bodies (e.g., Titan).

The workshop will incorporate oral and poster presentations as well as extended discussion dispersed around a one-day field trip to dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park on May 19, 2010. The workshop will bring together researchers with interests in planetary dunes from diverse backgrounds in image analysis, modeling, and terrestrial analog studies. A small group setting will facilitate intensive discussion of problems and issues in an attempt to identify the most promising approaches to understanding these dune systems and to develop a collaborative interdisciplinary research agenda.

This workshop follows on from the very successful Planetary Dunes Workshop held in Alamogordo, New Mexico, April 28–May 2, 2008, which brought together researchers with interests in planetary dunes from diverse backgrounds, ranging from image analysis to modeling to terrestrial analog studies.