In situ measurement of dust devil dynamics: Toward a strategy for Mars

David M. Tratt, Michael H. Hecht, David C. Catling, Eric C. Samulon, Peter H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


An intensive 3-day dust devil investigation was conducted near Eloy, Arizona, during June of 2001. The goal was to evaluate strategies for observing dust devils on Mars by studying the physics of terrestrial dust devils. As part of this campaign, an instrumented vehicle outfitted with wind, temperature, and pressure sensors was used to intercept and penetrate numerous dust devils. Defined analysis of meteorological fields was only possible with knowledge of the whole body motion of a dust devil. One such data set analyzed revealed a dust devil structure characterized by a tangential wind proportional to radius, r, inside the warm, low-pressure core of a dust devil, and proportional to r-1/2 outside the core. We discuss the implications for optimum measurement strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-1 - 2-7
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 25 2003


  • Dust devils
  • In situ measurements
  • Rankine vortex model
  • Vortex dynamics
  • Vortex structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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