Presentation #503.04 in the session Mars Surface Mapping and Geology.
Understanding the interaction of aeolian processes and volcanism requires coupling remote sensing observations with surface geology. This study uses remote sensing and field measurements of the Holuhraun lava flow-field in Iceland to 1) examine changes from 2015 to 2021 in Sentinel-1 radar data that may be due to sediment mantling over the flow-field, 2) characterize sediment-mantled flows in terms of the thickness of their deposits and topography, and 3) use this data to interpret lava flows on Mars. In the field, we use a backpack LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system to produce high-resolution (1-2 cm/pixel) topography of study sites, and a GPR (Ground-Penetrating Radar) system to measure the thickness of mantled sediment. Initial results show no significant reduction in radar backscatter across the three major lava facies that make up most of the flow-field. However, initial analyses of regions shown to be visibly mantled by sediment in Loftmyndir ehf. aerial imagery indicate a substantial reduction in radar backscatter, suggesting localized controls on sediment deposition. This work has implications for studies of lava flows on Mars, where the mantling of dust and sand on flow surfaces makes the interpretation of remote sensing data more difficult. Understanding the difference between the radar backscatter of rough, sediment-covered lava flows and smooth lava flows free of dust can help elucidate flow emplacement history and add more context to our knowledge of planetary surface evolution.