Onodera, K.Nishida, K.Kawamura, T.Murdoch, N.Drilleau, M.Otsuka, R., (...) Schimmel, M., et al. (2023). Description of Martian convective vortices observed by InSight and implications for vertical vortex structure and subsurface physical propertiesJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets128, e2023JE007896. https://doi.org/10.1029/2023JE007896


Convective vortices (whirlwinds) and dust devils (dust-loaded vortices) are one of the most common phenomena on Mars. They reflect the local thermodynamical structure of the atmosphere and are the driving force of the dust cycle. Additionally, they cause an elastic ground deformation, which is useful for retrieving the subsurface rigidity. Therefore, investigating convective vortices with the right instrumentation can lead to a better understanding of the Martian atmospheric structures as well as the subsurface physical properties. In this study, we quantitatively characterized the convective vortices detected by NASA’s InSight ( ∼13,000 events) using meteorological (e.g., pressure, wind speed, temperature) and seismic data. The evaluated parameters, such as the signal-to-noise ratio, event duration, asymmetricity of pressure drop profiles, and cross-correlation between seismic and pressure signals, are compiled as a catalog. Using these parameters, we investigated (i) the vortex structure and (ii) the subsurface physical properties. Regarding the first topic, we tried to illustrate the vertical vortex structure and its link to the shape of the pressure profiles by combining the asymmetrical features seen in the observed pressure drops and the terrestrial observations of dust devils. Our results indicate that most of the vortices move with the wall tilted in the advection direction. Concerning the second topic, selecting the highly-correlated events between pressure perturbation and ground response, we estimated the subsurface rigidity at the InSight landing site down to 100 m depth. Our results indicate that the subsurface structure can be modeled with 2 layers having a transition at 5–15 m depth.

Original article

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