A prelanding assessment of the ice table depth and ground ice characteristics in Martian permafrost at the Phoenix landing site

Michael T. Mellon, William V. Boynton, William C. Feldman, Raymond E. Arvidson, Timothy N. Titus Joshua, L. Bandfield, Nathaniel E. Putzig, Hanna G. Sizemore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We review multiple estimates of the ice table depth at potential Phoenix landing sites and consider the possible state and distribution of subsurface ice. A two-layer model of ice-rich material overlain by ice-free material is consistent with both the observational and theoretical lines of evidence. Results indicate ground ice to be shallow and ubiquitous, 2-6 cm below the surface. Undulations in the ice table depth are expected because of the thermodynamic effects of rocks, slopes, and soil variations on the scale of the Phoenix Lander and within the digging area, which can be advantageous for analysis of both dry surficial soils and buried ice-rich materials. The ground ice at the ice table to be sampled by the Phoenix Lander is expected to be geologically young because of recent climate oscillations. However, estimates of the ratio of soil to ice in the ice-rich subsurface layer suggest that that the ice content exceeds the available pore space, which is difficult to reconcile with existing ground ice stability and dynamics models. These high concentrations of ice may be the result of either the burial of surface snow during times of higher obliquity, initially high-porosity soils, or the migration of water along thin films. Measurement of the D/H ratio within the ice at the ice table and of the soil-to-ice ratio, as well as imaging ice-soil textures, will help determine if the ice is indeed young and if the models of the effects of climate change on the ground ice are reasonable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE00A25
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume114
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 20 2009

Fingerprint

permafrost
Phoenix (AZ)
landing sites
Permafrost
Ice
Landing
ice
soils
Soils
soil
climate oscillation
porosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

A prelanding assessment of the ice table depth and ground ice characteristics in Martian permafrost at the Phoenix landing site. / Mellon, Michael T.; Boynton, William V.; Feldman, William C.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Titus Joshua, Timothy N.; Bandfield, L.; Putzig, Nathaniel E.; Sizemore, Hanna G.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 114, No. 3, E00A25, 20.03.2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mellon, Michael T. ; Boynton, William V. ; Feldman, William C. ; Arvidson, Raymond E. ; Titus Joshua, Timothy N. ; Bandfield, L. ; Putzig, Nathaniel E. ; Sizemore, Hanna G. / A prelanding assessment of the ice table depth and ground ice characteristics in Martian permafrost at the Phoenix landing site. In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 2009 ; Vol. 114, No. 3.
@article{e7a34a7c85e5495895e988944f5a9266,
title = "A prelanding assessment of the ice table depth and ground ice characteristics in Martian permafrost at the Phoenix landing site",
abstract = "We review multiple estimates of the ice table depth at potential Phoenix landing sites and consider the possible state and distribution of subsurface ice. A two-layer model of ice-rich material overlain by ice-free material is consistent with both the observational and theoretical lines of evidence. Results indicate ground ice to be shallow and ubiquitous, 2-6 cm below the surface. Undulations in the ice table depth are expected because of the thermodynamic effects of rocks, slopes, and soil variations on the scale of the Phoenix Lander and within the digging area, which can be advantageous for analysis of both dry surficial soils and buried ice-rich materials. The ground ice at the ice table to be sampled by the Phoenix Lander is expected to be geologically young because of recent climate oscillations. However, estimates of the ratio of soil to ice in the ice-rich subsurface layer suggest that that the ice content exceeds the available pore space, which is difficult to reconcile with existing ground ice stability and dynamics models. These high concentrations of ice may be the result of either the burial of surface snow during times of higher obliquity, initially high-porosity soils, or the migration of water along thin films. Measurement of the D/H ratio within the ice at the ice table and of the soil-to-ice ratio, as well as imaging ice-soil textures, will help determine if the ice is indeed young and if the models of the effects of climate change on the ground ice are reasonable.",
author = "Mellon, {Michael T.} and Boynton, {William V.} and Feldman, {William C.} and Arvidson, {Raymond E.} and {Titus Joshua}, {Timothy N.} and L. Bandfield and Putzig, {Nathaniel E.} and Sizemore, {Hanna G.}",
year = "2009",
month = "3",
day = "20",
doi = "10.1029/2007JE003067",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "114",
journal = "Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics",
issn = "2169-9380",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - A prelanding assessment of the ice table depth and ground ice characteristics in Martian permafrost at the Phoenix landing site

AU - Mellon, Michael T.

AU - Boynton, William V.

AU - Feldman, William C.

AU - Arvidson, Raymond E.

AU - Titus Joshua, Timothy N.

AU - Bandfield, L.

AU - Putzig, Nathaniel E.

AU - Sizemore, Hanna G.

PY - 2009/3/20

Y1 - 2009/3/20

N2 - We review multiple estimates of the ice table depth at potential Phoenix landing sites and consider the possible state and distribution of subsurface ice. A two-layer model of ice-rich material overlain by ice-free material is consistent with both the observational and theoretical lines of evidence. Results indicate ground ice to be shallow and ubiquitous, 2-6 cm below the surface. Undulations in the ice table depth are expected because of the thermodynamic effects of rocks, slopes, and soil variations on the scale of the Phoenix Lander and within the digging area, which can be advantageous for analysis of both dry surficial soils and buried ice-rich materials. The ground ice at the ice table to be sampled by the Phoenix Lander is expected to be geologically young because of recent climate oscillations. However, estimates of the ratio of soil to ice in the ice-rich subsurface layer suggest that that the ice content exceeds the available pore space, which is difficult to reconcile with existing ground ice stability and dynamics models. These high concentrations of ice may be the result of either the burial of surface snow during times of higher obliquity, initially high-porosity soils, or the migration of water along thin films. Measurement of the D/H ratio within the ice at the ice table and of the soil-to-ice ratio, as well as imaging ice-soil textures, will help determine if the ice is indeed young and if the models of the effects of climate change on the ground ice are reasonable.

AB - We review multiple estimates of the ice table depth at potential Phoenix landing sites and consider the possible state and distribution of subsurface ice. A two-layer model of ice-rich material overlain by ice-free material is consistent with both the observational and theoretical lines of evidence. Results indicate ground ice to be shallow and ubiquitous, 2-6 cm below the surface. Undulations in the ice table depth are expected because of the thermodynamic effects of rocks, slopes, and soil variations on the scale of the Phoenix Lander and within the digging area, which can be advantageous for analysis of both dry surficial soils and buried ice-rich materials. The ground ice at the ice table to be sampled by the Phoenix Lander is expected to be geologically young because of recent climate oscillations. However, estimates of the ratio of soil to ice in the ice-rich subsurface layer suggest that that the ice content exceeds the available pore space, which is difficult to reconcile with existing ground ice stability and dynamics models. These high concentrations of ice may be the result of either the burial of surface snow during times of higher obliquity, initially high-porosity soils, or the migration of water along thin films. Measurement of the D/H ratio within the ice at the ice table and of the soil-to-ice ratio, as well as imaging ice-soil textures, will help determine if the ice is indeed young and if the models of the effects of climate change on the ground ice are reasonable.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=67649185057&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=67649185057&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1029/2007JE003067

DO - 10.1029/2007JE003067

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:67649185057

VL - 114

JO - Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

JF - Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

SN - 2169-9380

IS - 3

M1 - E00A25

ER -