Monday, April 8, 2013

Erosion of Steep Scarp of the South Polar Layered Deposits

This image shows spectacular erosion of a steep scarp in the icy layered deposits on the South Pole of Mars.

There are small and large alcoves, one of which (on the right) leads to a bright deposit. This must be a recent avalanche deposit, because the ice should sublimate rapidly after being exposed from beneath the protective cover of dust that develops on the surface.

The alcoves may form by a combination of sublimation and collapse. HiRISE is monitoring this site and adjacent areas for changes, to better understand the active processes.

This is a stereo pair with ESP_030854_1080.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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