37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 32 Mars' Surface
Poster, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Recital Room

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[32.04] THEMIS and TES Observations of Water Ice Lags in the Mars' Southern Summer

T.N. Titus (U.S. Geological Survey)

We present thermal infrared and visual evidence for the existence of water ice lags in the early southern summer. The existence of water ice lags that survive up to 15 sols past the sublimation of the CO2 can not be explained solely on the basis of the amount of water expected to be present in the seasonal polar cap from the condensation phase. This amount of water would sublimate away in a fraction of a sol (martian day). However, if the water incorporated into the cap during condensation migrated with the retreat of the cap edge, the amount of water-ice could be enriched by a factor of 18. As the cap shrinks in size, this process enriches the amount of water-ice at the edge of the retreating cap until a sufficient amount of water is present to form a temporary, but observable, lag when the CO2 completely sublimates away. This phenomenon, which has already been identified for the northern retreating cap, presents an important water transport mechanism, as well as added complexity to modeling the seasonal cap, e.g. variability in the cap albedo.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.