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Araneiform and Lace Terrains
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Araneiform and Lace Terrains

December 16, 2007

The south polar terrain on Mars contains landforms unlike any that we see on Earth, so much that a new vocabulary is required to describe them. The word "araneiform" means "spider-like." There are radially organized channels on Mars that look spider-like, but we don't want to confuse anyone by talking about "spiders" when we really mean "channels," not "bugs."

The first subimage shows an example of "connected araneiform topography," terrain that is filled with spider-like channels whose arms branch and connect to each other. Gas flows through these channels until it encounters a vent, where is escapes out to the atmosphere, carrying dust along with it. The dark dust is blown around by the prevailing wind.

The second subimage shows a different region of the same image where the channels are not radially organized. In this region they form a dense tangled network of tortuous strands. We refer to this as "lace."

Topics: Spider, Bug, Mars, Environment


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