Modeling sublimation of ice exposed by new impacts in the martian mid-latitudes

Colin M. Dundas, Shane Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


New impacts in the martian mid-latitudes have exposed near-surface ice. This ice is observed to slowly fade over timescales of months. In the present martian climate, exposed surface ice is unstable during summer months in the mid-latitudes and will sublimate. We model the sublimation of ice at five new impact sites and examine the implications of its persistence. Even with generally conservative assumptions, for most reasonable choices of parameters it is likely that over a millimeter of sublimation occurred in the period during which the ice was observed to fade. The persistence of visible ice through such sublimation suggests that the ice is relatively pure rather than pore-filling. Such ice could be analogous to the nearly pure ice observed by the Phoenix Lander in the "Dodo-Goldilocks" trench and suggests that the high ice contents reported by the Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer at high latitudes extend to the mid-latitudes. Our observations are consistent with a model of the martian ice table in which a layer with high volumetric ice content overlies pore-filling ice, although other structures are possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-728
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Ices
  • Impact processes
  • Mars, Atmosphere
  • Mars, Surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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