New insights on the roles of ice, water and climate change in recent landscape development on Mars.

Gallagher, Colman and Balme, Matthew R. (2015). New insights on the roles of ice, water and climate change in recent landscape development on Mars. Geography, 100(2) pp. 84–93.

URL: http://www.geography.org.uk/journals/journals.asp?...

Abstract

Ground-ice exists widely on Mars and has been observed directly - the Phoenix Mars Lander revealed it in trenches only centimeters deep. The landscape surrounding Phoenix would not look out of place in the Antarctic or in Ice-Age Europe - a stony plain patterned by a regular network of polygons. However, the generation of liquid water from ground-ice thaw on Mars is hotly debated. Models tell us that ground-ice on Mars cannot melt under current conditions, instead subliming directly to vapour without becoming liquid, and geomorphological evidence of sublimation is abundant. However, recent very high resolution images of Mars from HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) now reveal suites of landforms consistent with ground-ice thaw and resulting liquid flows. These landforms first remind us of the importance of testing our models by observation, but might instead hint that the chemistry of Martian ground-ice allows it to thaw at unexpectedly low temperatures.

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