Massive CO2 Ice Deposits Sequestered in the South Polar Layered Deposits of Mars

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Science  21 Apr 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1203091


Shallow Radar soundings from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal a buried deposit of CO2 ice within the south polar layered deposits of Mars with a volume of 9,500 to 12,500 km3, about 30 times that previously estimated for the south pole residual cap. The deposit occurs within a stratigraphic unit that is uniquely marked by collapse features and other evidence of interior CO2 volatile release. If released into the atmosphere at times of high obliquity, the CO2 reservoir would increase the atmospheric mass by up to 80%, leading to more frequent and intense dust storms and to more regions where liquid water could persist without boiling.