Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Space & Planetary Sciences (PhD)

Degree Level



Space & Planetary Sciences


Vincent Chevrier

Committee Member

John Dixon

Second Committee Member

Jason Tullis

Third Committee Member

Larry Roe


Mars, Patterned Ground, Periglacial, Planetary Analogs


Patterned ground is a ubiquitous landform in periglacial regions of Earth and is also present across the mid to high latitudes of Mars. The association of terrestrial patterned ground to the presence of subsurface water ice in the form of permafrost that develops a seasonal ‘wet’ active layer during the summer thaw prompted further investigation of patterned ground on Mars. The Phoenix spacecraft was sent to the surface of the north polar plains of Mars to investigate an area of patterned ground where water ice was predicted to occur. The confirmation of subsurface water ice at the Phoenix landing site confirmed the hypothesis that water ice and patterned ground on Mars are intricately linked, however outstanding questions remain regarding the mode of formation of martian patterned ground. Dry modification via sublimation and thermal-driven processes are possible under present-day climate conditions, however warmer climate conditions are predicted to have occurred during past periods of high obliquity and could have supported periglacial freeze-thaw modification of patterned ground on Mars. Understanding the extent to which liquid water may have been available in the recent geological history of Mars is important to constraining past habitability as well as identifying resources for future long-duration human exploration. It is suggested that if patterned ground on Mars experienced periglacial modification in the past, then it currently exists in a relict form. This research examines the morphometry and surface roughness parameters of active and relict terrestrial patterned ground sites in conjunction with evaluations of martian patterned ground to identify parameters that may assist with ongoing efforts to determine the age and modes of historical modification of patterned ground on Mars.