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Tropical to mid-latitude snow and ice accumulation, flow and glaciation on Mars

January 1, 2005

Images from the Mars Express HRSC (High-Resolution Stereo Camera) of debris aprons at the base of massifs in eastern Hellas reveal numerous concentrically ridged lobate and pitted features and related evidence of extremely ice-rich glacier-like viscous flow and sublimation. Together with new evidence for recent ice-rich rock glaciers at the base of the Olympus Mons scarp superposed on larger Late Amazonian debris-covered piedmont glaciers, we interpret these deposits as evidence for geologically recent and recurring glacial activity in tropical and mid-latitude regions of Mars during periods of increased spin-axis obliquity when polar ice was mobilized and redeposited in microenvironments at lower latitudes. The data indicate that abundant residual ice probably remains in these deposits and that these records of geologically recent climate changes are accessible to future automated and human surface exploration.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2005
Title Tropical to mid-latitude snow and ice accumulation, flow and glaciation on Mars
DOI 10.1038/nature03359
Authors J.W. Head, G. Neukum, R. Jaumann, H. Hiesinger, E. Hauber, M. Carr, P. Masson, B. Foing, H. Hoffmann, M. Kreslavsky, S. Werner, S. Milkovich, S. Van Gasselt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature
Index ID 70029180
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse