Relationship between topography and flow in the north polar cap on Mars
Abstract: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: 2003-06-01
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