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Geomorphologic evidence for ground ice on Mars

January 1, 1985

For ground ice to exist on Mars, two conditions have to be met. One is the presence of permafrost; the second is the availability of water. Because the mean temperature of Mars’surface is − 80 C., permafrost 1–3 km thick occurs over the entire planet. Remote-sensing measurements suggest that water presently exists in the atmosphere and in the polar caps; frost has been observed at the Viking landing sites. Landforms that support the contention that ground ice exists on Mars include lobate ejecta from craters, small valley networks, and numerous features that may be attributed to thermokarst. Chaotically collapsed terrain, chain craters, irregular depressions, and valleys tributary to canyons all appear to be related to loss of ground ice. Patterned ground has dimensions similar to that on Earth as well as dimensions of giant size. Masswasting features are common on scarps Even though individual features may be explained as results of other processes, the combined evidence indicates that a large reservoir of ground ice has existed on Mars.

Publication Year 1985
Title Geomorphologic evidence for ground ice on Mars
DOI 10.1007/978-94-009-5418-2_39
Authors Baerbel K. Lucchitta
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70200536
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center