Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes

Colin M. Dundas, Ali M. Bramson, Lujendra Ojha, James J. Wray, Michael T. Mellon, Shane Byrne, Alfred S. McEwen, Nathaniel E. Putzig, Donna Viola, Sarah Sutton, Erin Clark, John W. Holt

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65 Scopus citations

Abstract

Thick deposits cover broad regions of the Martian mid-latitudes with a smooth mantle; erosion in these regions creates scarps that expose the internal structure of the mantle. We investigated eight of these locations and found that they expose deposits of water ice that can be >100 meters thick, extending downward from depths as shallow as 1 to 2 meters below the surface. The scarps are actively retreating because of sublimation of the exposed water ice. The ice deposits likely originated as snowfall during Mars' high-obliquity periods and have now compacted into massive, fractured, and layered ice. We expect the vertical structure of Martian ice-rich deposits to preserve a record of ice deposition and past climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-201
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume359
Issue number6372
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 12 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Dundas, C. M., Bramson, A. M., Ojha, L., Wray, J. J., Mellon, M. T., Byrne, S., McEwen, A. S., Putzig, N. E., Viola, D., Sutton, S., Clark, E., & Holt, J. W. (2018). Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes. Science, 359(6372), 199-201. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao1619