MARTIAN CLIMATE: An ice age recorded in the polar deposits of Mars

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Abstract

Layered ice deposits at the poles of Mars record a detailed history of accumulation and erosion related to climate processes. Radar investigations measure these layers and provide evidence for climate changes such as ice advance and retreat. We present a detailed analysis of observational data showing that ˜87,000 cubic kilometers of ice have accumulated at the poles since the end of the last ice age ˜370,000 years ago; this volume is equivalent to a global layer of ˜60 centimeters. The majority of the material accumulated at the north pole. These results provide both a means to understand the accumulation history of the polar deposits as related to orbital Milankovitch cycles and constraints for better determination of Mars' past and future climates.

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