Special Reports

Meter-Scale Morphology of the North Polar Region of Mars

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Science  21 Sep 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5845, pp. 1711-1715
DOI: 10.1126/science.1143544

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Abstract

Mars' north pole is covered by a dome of layered ice deposits. Detailed (∼30 centimeters per pixel) images of this region were obtained with the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Planum Boreum basal unit scarps reveal cross-bedding and show evidence for recent mass wasting, flow, and debris accumulation. The north polar layers themselves are as thin as 10 centimeters but appear to be covered by a dusty veneer in places, which may obscure thinner layers. Repetition of particular layer types implies that quasi-periodic climate changes influenced the stratigraphic sequence in the polar layered deposits, informing models for recent climate variations on Mars.

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