, Volume 137, Issue 1-4, pp 419-434
Date: 20 Jun 2008

Electrical Activity and Dust Lifting on Earth, Mars, and Beyond

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Abstract

We review electrical activity in blowing sand and dusty phenomena on Earth, Mars, the Moon, and asteroids. On Earth and Mars, blowing sand and dusty phenomena such as dust devils and dust storms are important geological processes and the primary sources of atmospheric dust. Large electric fields have been measured in terrestrial dusty phenomena and are predicted to occur on Mars. We review the charging mechanisms that produce these electric fields and discuss the implications of electrical activity to dust lifting and atmospheric chemistry. In addition, we review theoretical ideas about electric discharges on Mars. Finally, we discuss the evidence that electrostatics is responsible for dust transport on the Moon and asteroids.