Relationship between topography and flow in the north polar cap on Mars

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Assuming that the permanent north polar cap of Mars consists of flowing water ice, the relationship between topography and flow is examined along a profile extending from the pole in the 160° E direction. This profile is intersected by scarps and troughs that are characteristic of the north polar cap. The flow is calculated by a finite-element ice-flow model which includes divergence of the flow, longitudinal stresses and temperature effects. Ice-flow velocities are generally on the order of 0.1-1 mm a-1 but are enhanced at scarps and troughs to cm a-1. Ice flow smooths out the troughs. Troughs affect the flow to the bottom of the cap. Beneath a trough, ice is dragged upward. Longitudinal stresses are able to drag the lowest part of the ice past smaller troughs. At the pole-facing side of major troughs, ice is stagnant or flows slowly poleward. Implications for formation mechanisms of scarps and troughs are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2003

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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