Mobility of large rock avalanches: evidence from Valles Marineris, Mars

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143 Scopus citations


Measurements of H/L (height of drop/length of runout) vs. volume for landslides in Valles Marineris on Mars show a trend of decreasing H/L with increasing volume. This trend, which is linear on a log-log plot, is parallel to but lies above the trend for terrestrial dry rock avalanches. This result and estimates of 10 4 to 10 5 Pa yield strength suggest that the landslides were not water saturated, as suggested by previous workers. The offset between the H/L vs. volume trends shows that a typical Martian avalanche must be nearly two orders of magnitude more voluminous than a typical terrestrial avalance in order to achieve the same mobility. This offset might be explained by the effects of gravity on flows with high yield strengths. These results should prove useful to future efforts to resolve the controversy over the mechanics of long-runout avalanches. -Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1114
Number of pages4
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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