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Discover traces of ice movement in the south pole of Mars

Planetary scientists recently discovered on photographs of the Martian ice cap evidence that icebergs are moving, like ice sheets on Earth.

This was reported by the press office of the Planetary Science Institute (PSI).

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It is noteworthy that the ice sheet consisting of dry ice began to form in the south pole of Mars about 600,000 years ago. If it had not moved, it would have been about 45 meters high. But in reality, Mars ice always slides into valleys, causing the ice mass to thicken in some areas up to a kilometer.

And Isaac Smith, a researcher at the Institute of Planetary Science, discovered the first evidence that the same physical processes that control the movement of ice in Antarctica and on the slopes of Earth’s mountains are involved in shaping the southern ice sheet on Mars.

Scientists came to this conclusion after they computerized the process and simulated its growth in the past million years.

Planetary scientists explained that the angle of inclination of the Mars rotation axis is not fixed, as it changes over time, which leads to sharp changes in the amounts of heat received by the tropics and polar regions. Millions of years ago, these changes changed the climate and cooled the polar regions of the Red Planet.

As a result, the temperature at the south pole of Mars decreased, leading to the formation of dry ice composed of frozen carbon dioxide. The scientists’ calculations, resulting from computer modeling, showed that the southern ice cap of Mars could not be formed as a result of the regular descent of carbon dioxide on the surface of the layers of water ice, as scientists previously believed. The largest layers of dry ice accumulate in valleys near the North Pole, not in the mountains.

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On the other hand, Smith and his team discovered on photographs of the south polar cap on Mars a large number of changes in terrain and ice basins that closely resemble the effects of the movement of the Antarctic ice sheets. This led scientists to believe that the current appearance of the southern ice cap on Mars was caused by the movement of dry ice currents.

Source: TASS