The region of western Utopia Planitia (80-105 degreesE, 40-55 degrees N) displays several types of landforms similar to Earth periglacial features, including scallop-shaped depressions and networks of polygonal terrains. The scalloped depressions have been proposed to originate from thermokarstic processes such as sublimation and/or melting of near-surface ground ice. Using HiRISE imagery, we characterize these depressions and several associated, distinct polygon networks in unprecedented morphologic and topographic detail and investigate support for an ice-based degradation process. The scalloped depressions and interior polygons and ridges are found to evolve together, mainly influenced by sublimation, local proximity of ground ice to the surface, and obliquity variations.
Additional publication details
Observations of periglacial landforms in Utopia Planitia with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)