Reconstructing the timescale of a catastrophic fan-forming event on Earth using a Mars model

Robert A. Duller*, Nicholas H. Warner, Silvio De Angelis, John J. Armitage, Miquel Poyatos-Moré

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The calculation of formation timescales of alluvial fans and deltas on Mars is important as it has direct implications for understanding the planet's hydrologic history. The robustness of sediment transport models is not in doubt but validation of the broad approach using a terrestrial example of similar scale and likely origin, where hydraulic parameters and timescales are known, is useful. Using a catastrophically formed terrestrial fan, where abundant sedimentological information is available, we find that the modeled hydraulic parameters and formation timescales are in very close agreement with the known values of the event. This supports the general modeling approach as applied to Mars fans but also highlights the added value of detailed sedimentary information when reconstructing hydraulics and timescales on Earth and Mars, which cannot be confidently gleaned from the final snapshot of surface geomorphology alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10324-10332
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2015


  • Earth
  • fan
  • Mars
  • sedimentology
  • timescale
  • transport


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