Low-frequency radar sounding investigations of the North Amargosa Desert, Nevada: A potential analog of conductive subsurface environments on Mars

Essam Heggy, Stephen M. Clifford, Robert E. Grimm, Cynthia L. Dinwiddie, John A. Stamatakos, Sarah H. Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theoretical estimates of low-frequency radar sounding performance and its potential for mapping moist subsurface interfaces in conductive environments on Mars are controversial, with predictions of ultimate penetration depth ranging from a few meters to kilometers. To address this issue, we conducted a broadband electromagnetic field survey in which we combined ground penetrating radar (GPR) operating at multiple low frequencies with the transient electromagnetic method (TEM) to investigate the dependence of radar penetration depth on ground resistivity. Surveys were performed in the frequency range 16-100 MHz at two locations on the northwest margin of the Amargosa Desert, Nevada, where numerous Mars-analog investigations have been performed. The surveys were conducted on a 20-m-high homogenous sand dune and on the flanks of a 20-m-high scoria cone and above a buried lava flow. A wet alluvial interface was located at the bottom of each structure. GPR detected the wet alluvium contact at the base of the sand dune, but failed to penetrate to the same depth at the scoria cone under similar residual moisture content. Depths of investigation for both the scoria cone and the buried lava flow were limited to approximately 10 m owing to the presence of conductive inclusions in the first few meters, which are below the radar resolution but dramatically decreased the dynamic of the radar-backscattered echoes and hence the penetration depth. Absorption models constrained by the TEM data are in good agreement with these observations. Depths of investigation varied weakly with frequency owing to substantial, frequency-independent absorption.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE06S03
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Volume111
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

radar measurement
deserts
mars
Mars
Radar
desert
radar
analogs
low frequencies
Cones
dunes
cones
electromagnetic method
penetration
ground penetrating radar
lava
lava flow
dune
Sand
radar resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Cite this

Low-frequency radar sounding investigations of the North Amargosa Desert, Nevada : A potential analog of conductive subsurface environments on Mars. / Heggy, Essam; Clifford, Stephen M.; Grimm, Robert E.; Dinwiddie, Cynthia L.; Stamatakos, John A.; Gonzalez, Sarah H.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, Vol. 111, No. 6, E06S03, 20.06.2006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Heggy, Essam ; Clifford, Stephen M. ; Grimm, Robert E. ; Dinwiddie, Cynthia L. ; Stamatakos, John A. ; Gonzalez, Sarah H. / Low-frequency radar sounding investigations of the North Amargosa Desert, Nevada : A potential analog of conductive subsurface environments on Mars. In: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets. 2006 ; Vol. 111, No. 6.
@article{9c40260c915f4ce7942ff263f19cf3e9,
title = "Low-frequency radar sounding investigations of the North Amargosa Desert, Nevada: A potential analog of conductive subsurface environments on Mars",
abstract = "Theoretical estimates of low-frequency radar sounding performance and its potential for mapping moist subsurface interfaces in conductive environments on Mars are controversial, with predictions of ultimate penetration depth ranging from a few meters to kilometers. To address this issue, we conducted a broadband electromagnetic field survey in which we combined ground penetrating radar (GPR) operating at multiple low frequencies with the transient electromagnetic method (TEM) to investigate the dependence of radar penetration depth on ground resistivity. Surveys were performed in the frequency range 16-100 MHz at two locations on the northwest margin of the Amargosa Desert, Nevada, where numerous Mars-analog investigations have been performed. The surveys were conducted on a 20-m-high homogenous sand dune and on the flanks of a 20-m-high scoria cone and above a buried lava flow. A wet alluvial interface was located at the bottom of each structure. GPR detected the wet alluvium contact at the base of the sand dune, but failed to penetrate to the same depth at the scoria cone under similar residual moisture content. Depths of investigation for both the scoria cone and the buried lava flow were limited to approximately 10 m owing to the presence of conductive inclusions in the first few meters, which are below the radar resolution but dramatically decreased the dynamic of the radar-backscattered echoes and hence the penetration depth. Absorption models constrained by the TEM data are in good agreement with these observations. Depths of investigation varied weakly with frequency owing to substantial, frequency-independent absorption.",
author = "Essam Heggy and Clifford, {Stephen M.} and Grimm, {Robert E.} and Dinwiddie, {Cynthia L.} and Stamatakos, {John A.} and Gonzalez, {Sarah H.}",
year = "2006",
month = "6",
day = "20",
doi = "10.1029/2005JE002523",
language = "English",
volume = "111",
journal = "JAPCA",
issn = "1073-161X",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Low-frequency radar sounding investigations of the North Amargosa Desert, Nevada

T2 - A potential analog of conductive subsurface environments on Mars

AU - Heggy, Essam

AU - Clifford, Stephen M.

AU - Grimm, Robert E.

AU - Dinwiddie, Cynthia L.

AU - Stamatakos, John A.

AU - Gonzalez, Sarah H.

PY - 2006/6/20

Y1 - 2006/6/20

N2 - Theoretical estimates of low-frequency radar sounding performance and its potential for mapping moist subsurface interfaces in conductive environments on Mars are controversial, with predictions of ultimate penetration depth ranging from a few meters to kilometers. To address this issue, we conducted a broadband electromagnetic field survey in which we combined ground penetrating radar (GPR) operating at multiple low frequencies with the transient electromagnetic method (TEM) to investigate the dependence of radar penetration depth on ground resistivity. Surveys were performed in the frequency range 16-100 MHz at two locations on the northwest margin of the Amargosa Desert, Nevada, where numerous Mars-analog investigations have been performed. The surveys were conducted on a 20-m-high homogenous sand dune and on the flanks of a 20-m-high scoria cone and above a buried lava flow. A wet alluvial interface was located at the bottom of each structure. GPR detected the wet alluvium contact at the base of the sand dune, but failed to penetrate to the same depth at the scoria cone under similar residual moisture content. Depths of investigation for both the scoria cone and the buried lava flow were limited to approximately 10 m owing to the presence of conductive inclusions in the first few meters, which are below the radar resolution but dramatically decreased the dynamic of the radar-backscattered echoes and hence the penetration depth. Absorption models constrained by the TEM data are in good agreement with these observations. Depths of investigation varied weakly with frequency owing to substantial, frequency-independent absorption.

AB - Theoretical estimates of low-frequency radar sounding performance and its potential for mapping moist subsurface interfaces in conductive environments on Mars are controversial, with predictions of ultimate penetration depth ranging from a few meters to kilometers. To address this issue, we conducted a broadband electromagnetic field survey in which we combined ground penetrating radar (GPR) operating at multiple low frequencies with the transient electromagnetic method (TEM) to investigate the dependence of radar penetration depth on ground resistivity. Surveys were performed in the frequency range 16-100 MHz at two locations on the northwest margin of the Amargosa Desert, Nevada, where numerous Mars-analog investigations have been performed. The surveys were conducted on a 20-m-high homogenous sand dune and on the flanks of a 20-m-high scoria cone and above a buried lava flow. A wet alluvial interface was located at the bottom of each structure. GPR detected the wet alluvium contact at the base of the sand dune, but failed to penetrate to the same depth at the scoria cone under similar residual moisture content. Depths of investigation for both the scoria cone and the buried lava flow were limited to approximately 10 m owing to the presence of conductive inclusions in the first few meters, which are below the radar resolution but dramatically decreased the dynamic of the radar-backscattered echoes and hence the penetration depth. Absorption models constrained by the TEM data are in good agreement with these observations. Depths of investigation varied weakly with frequency owing to substantial, frequency-independent absorption.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33750607303&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33750607303&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1029/2005JE002523

DO - 10.1029/2005JE002523

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:33750607303

VL - 111

JO - JAPCA

JF - JAPCA

SN - 1073-161X

IS - 6

M1 - E06S03

ER -