Isolated Araneiform Topography  PSP0030870930
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Isolated Araneiform Topography (PSP_003087_0930)

December 26, 2007
Have you ever found that to describe something you had to go to the dictionary and search for just the right word?

The south polar terrain is so full of unearthly features that we had to visit Mr. Webster to find a suitable term. "Araneiform" means "spider-like". These are channels that are carved in the surface by carbon dioxide gas. We do not have this process on Earth.

The channels are somewhat radially organized and widen and deepen as they converge. In the past we've just refered to them as "spiders." "Isolated araneiform topography" means that our features look like spiders that are not in contact with each other.

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