Abstract169 – University of Copenhagen

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

Annals of Glaciology, Vol. 37, p. 363-369, 2003 

C.S. Hvidberg
Geofysisk Afdeling, Niels Bohr Instituttet for Astronomi, Fysik og Geofysik, Københavns Universitet

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 160o 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 upoward. 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.