Cracking glaciers on Mars

Cracking glaciers on Mars
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was released today as the picture of the day for the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Located in the 2,000 long northern mid-latitude strip that I dub Mars’ glacier country, it shows many of the numerous glacial features that are routinely found in images taken in this region. According to Dan Berman, senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, who wrote the caption,

This observation shows a lobe-shaped debris apron emanating from a massif (shown in the upper left of the image) in the Protonilus Mensae region in the Northern Hemisphere of Mars. These aprons are composed of nearly pure water ice with a layer of debris on the surface protecting the ice from sublimation (going directly from a solid to gaseous state). This image shows different terrain types on the apron that indicate the presence and flow of ice, from smoother polygonal terrain closer to the massif, to rougher, patterned ground commonly called “brain terrain.” Also visible on the apron are a series of linear pits.

Protonilus Mensae is the central mensae region in that mid-latitude strip of glaciers.The overview map below shows the location of this photo in that region. Also below is a close-up of the linear pits and cracked terrain surrounding that oblong mound, as indicated by the white rectangle.
» Read more