Martian Viscous Flow

These images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show what are called viscous flow features. They are the Martian equivalent of glacial flow. Such features are typically found in Mars’ mid-latitudes.

Ground-penetrating radar studies of Mars have shown that some of these features contain water ice covered in a protective layer of rock and dust, making them true glaciers. Another study of similar Martian surface features found that their slope was consistent with what could be produced by a ~10 m thick layer of ice and dust flowing superplastically over a timescale equal to the estimated age of the surface features. Superplastic flow occurs when solid matter is deformed well beyond its usual breaking point and is one of the common regimes for glacial ice flow on Earth. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/U. of Arizona; via beautifulmars)

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