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The region exhibits dark material that is being eroded from dark layers in the bedrock of a semicircular depression near the boundary of the Southern highlands and the Northern lowlands, NASA researchers said.
Downslope lineations support the notion that these dark sediments are derived locally, and did not accumulate here by coincidence because of the winds.
Wind-blown sand is lifted above the surface of each planet before crashing onto the ground and bouncing in a sequence of repeated hops, a process called saltation.
All of these repeated impacts tend to wear down the sand grains, smoothening them into a more spherical shape and breaking off small fragments that supply the vast dust deposits of Mars.
This process, known as comminution, ultimately destroys sand grains and limits the length of time that the particles exist.
The fact that we see active sand dunes on Mars today requires that sand particles must be resupplied to replace the grains that are lost over time. However, modern day sources of sand on Mars were not known.
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