Modelling the interaction between the atmosphere and surface ice at Lyot crater, Mars

Foley, Lori-Ann; Balme, Matthew; Lewis, Stephen and Holmes, James (2021). Modelling the interaction between the atmosphere and surface ice at Lyot crater, Mars. In: Mars - A New Geological Frontier, 2-4 Nov 2021, Virtual.



To understand the interaction between the atmosphere and ice deposits found in and around Lyot crater, Mars, we are using a climate model and exploring variations in Mars’ orbital parameters, such as obliquity, eccentricity and date of perihelion. Our climate model focuses on small scales (down to kilometres) to study how orbital variations affect the distribution of ice in the atmosphere and on the surface. Lyot crater is a site of particular interest due to its large size, its relatively young age, and that its geomorphology gives rise to a microenvironment that could control the landforms’ distribution in and around the crater. It is the site of a number of ice-based features and contains fluvial valley systems that are both the youngest systems of their size and are linked to near-surface ice-rich units. The output from the climate model allows us to make a detailed analysis of the impact of the crater’s geomorphology on ice deposition and sublimation, and on the formation of ice-rich landforms over time. We are assessing the effect that high and low points within the crater, and their attendant slopes and shadows, have on the formation of ice-rich features. We compare the modelled output to the observed distribution of landforms to study how climate processes control the long-term evolution of ice reservoirs and present initial results from that study here. When the full set of experiments are complete, we aim to build a timeline for when various units were deposited and altered based on the modelled output.

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