Ice-Rich Lobate Debris Aprons in Promethei Terra
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Ice-Rich Lobate Debris Aprons in Promethei Terra
ESP_020319_1470  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
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This image shows a portion of a lobate debris apron along the bottom of a hill in the Promethei Terra region of Mars. This region contains many such mesas surrounded by lobate debris aprons that are thought to be ice-rich. These aprons have been interpreted as a variety of possible features including rock glaciers, ice-rich mass movements, or debris-covered glacial flows. Recent radar data have shown them to be composed of nearly 100% pure ice. Parallel grooves and ridges indicate the direction of flow.

Both the debris apron and the plains beyond it are blanketed with an ice-rich mantle that is common throughout the Martian mid-latitudes. The mantle deposits are pitted and grooved perhaps due to the sublimation of ice. This mantle is thought to have been deposited as snow around 10 million years ago during a period of high obliquity, when the planet's axis was more tilted and environmental conditions could have been more conducive to snowfall in these regions.

Several small impact craters are visible on the plains that appear to have been filled with mantling deposits that have subsequently been partially removed. These craters give us clues to the erosional history of the deposit.

Written by: Dan Berman   (5 January 2011)

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Acquisition date:26 November 2010 Local Mars time: 3:46 PM
Latitude (centered):-32.691° Longitude (East):105.271°
Range to target site:252.8 km (158.0 miles)Original image scale range:50.6 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~152 cm across are resolved
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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.