March of the Barchans

Shaped like huge shark teeth, barchan sand dunes coat the floor of Herschel Crater in this false-color image from the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (See the full-sized map-projected image here.)

Barchan dunes (pronounced “barkan”) are found in many places on Mars as well as on Earth. They are formed by the pile-up of windblown sand particles, and their steepest “slip face” slope always faces in the direction of the wind with their longer face slope trailing behind, against the wind. From the air they create quite a dramatic texture, whether it’s in a crater on Mars or in an Arabian desert! Just another example of how physics works in the same way regardless of what planet you’re standing on. 🙂

Read more about the formation of barchan sand dunes here.

Source: HiRISE | Dunes in Herschel Crater (PSP_002728_1645).