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Science. 2018 Jan 12;359(6372):199-201. doi: 10.1126/science.aao1619.

Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes.

Author information

1
Astrogeology Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 2255 N. Gemini Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA.
2
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.
3
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.
4
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.
5
The Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, USA.
6
Planetary Science Institute, 1546 Cole Boulevard, Suite 120, Lakewood, CO 80401, USA.
7
Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78758, USA.

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.

PMID:
29326269
DOI:
10.1126/science.aao1619
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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