December 7, 2022
Study reveals the flow of glaciers at the south pole of Mars

Study reveals the flow of glaciers at the south pole of Mars

Dry ice on Mars, made up of frozen carbon dioxide (CO2), appears to flow up to 100 times faster than water ice on the planet’s surface when on high slopes, according to a new study led by the University of York. According to the authors, this same dynamic could occur in the last 600 thousand years.

For this discovery, the researchers observed the processes involved in Carbon dioxide glaciers at the south pole of Mars. According to the Planetary Science Institute, there are several types of ice in the solar system and more world of dwarves discovered, it is very likely that some of them contain carbon monoxide or glaciers of methane.

Mars south pole cap (Photo: clone/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin)

These glaciers are considered fast-flowing because of their rapid movement under the weight of their weight. The Martian south pole glacier has increased in size and mass since its formation over half a billion years ago, with periodic interruptions due to its loss due to sublimation (when ice turns into gas).

Without the flow of ice over the past millennia, the highest point of the glacier would be only 45 metres. However, when the ice flows from the upper parts into the curved basins and basins, where it begins to accumulate, ice deposits up to one kilometer thick have formed.

The largest CO2 glacier at the south pole of Mars was recorded by the Mars Express spacecraft (Image: Reproduction/NASA/MSSS)

The researchers used an adapted version of Mars from NASA’s Sea Level and Ice Sheet System Model Program, intended for observation. Glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. The model showed that glacial movement is the main force responsible for the movements of dry ice on Mars.

This explanation contrasts with atmospheric deposition, which would spread the ice more evenly, creating thinner layers. Isaac Smith, co-author of the study, added that ice flows downhill while water flows into lakes. “Only glacial flow can explain the distribution,” he said.

While the flow rate peaked 400,000 years ago, the glacier has slowly diminished in that time but it is still impressive in size. According to previous research, the largest glacier has a width of about 40 km and a length of 200 km.

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source: JGR . plantsvia space.com