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Thermal erosion and sliding of ice in Martian soil

Presentation #212.06 in the session Martian Geomorphology, Ice Layers, Crust, and Habitability (Poster)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Thermal erosion and sliding of ice in Martian soil

Water on Mars exists mainly in solid state, trapped within the porous soil, on mid and high latitudes. There are regions, where ice-rich layers are exposed on slopes of plateaux and in some of those places a specific erosion occurs: water ice slowly sublimates from pores within sand and dry sand slides to the bottom of the scarp, exposing new layer of ice-rich sand. Curiously, such phenomenon was observed on the poleward-facing scarps, not those facing the direction of equator. This research focuses on laboratory experiments and creation of phenomenological model of ice sublimation from martian-scarps-analogs, in low pressure and temperature. Experiments were conducted in vacuum chamber, using ice-sand soil analogs warmed by radiative heater. Understanding conditions in which such erosion may occur can bring us to better understanding of entire phenomenon. On the other hand, with growing need for water mining on extraterrestrial bodies, such model can also be used to create a method of industrial extraction of water from such scarps.

Research was also expanded with numerical simulations of sublimating scarps and comparison of theoretical model to empirical data.

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