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Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes

February 2, 2018

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.

Publication Year 2018
Title Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes
DOI 10.1126/science.aao1619
Authors Colin M. Dundas, Ali M Bramson, Lujendra Ojha, James J. Wray, Michael T. Mellon, Shane Byrne, Alfred S. McEwen, N. E. Putzig, Donna Viola, Sarah Sutton, E. Clark, J.W. Holt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Index ID 70195019
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center