Advective Fluxes in the Martian Regolith as a Mechanism Driving Methane and Other Trace Gas Emissions to the Atmosphere

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Viudez Moreiras, D., Arvidson, R. E., Gómez Elvira, J., Webster, C., Newman, C. E., Mahaffy, P. R., Vasavada, A. R. (2020). Advective Fluxes in the Martian Regolith as a Mechanism Driving Methane and Other Trace Gas Emissions to the Atmosphere. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, 3 DOI: 10.1029/2019GL085694

Advective fluxes influence methane and CO2 soil emissions into the atmosphere on Earth and may drive trace gas emissions in the Mars atmosphere. However, their relevance in the Martian regolith has not been evaluated to date. Our regolith transport simulations show that advective fluxes can be relevant under Martian conditions and may drive the methane abundance detected by Mars Science Laboratory. Trace gas emissions would be highest in regions where winds interact with topography. Emissions in these regions may be further enhanced by time-varying pressure fields produced by diurnal thermal tides and atmospheric turbulence. Trace gases such as methane should be emitted or produced from the first layers of regolith, or quickly transported to this region from a deeper reservoir through fractured media.

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