Saturday, March 31, 2012

Late Spring in Vastitas Borealis

These dark sand dunes in the north polar region, basking in the sunshine of late spring, have shed most of their seasonal layer of winter ice.

A few bright ice deposits remain sequestered in "cold traps" shadowed from the Sun on the poleward-facing side of the dunes. Some bright patches of ice at the foot of the sunlit side of the dunes may be places where ice slumped to the foot of the dune creating a longer-lasting snow bank.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Note: The closest named crater to this site is Escorial Crater, which is some distance off to the northeast; the closest named feature is Abalos Colles, which is also to the northeast, although not nearly as far away.

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