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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 21:24 EDT
Landslide Deposit in Deuteronilus Mensae
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Landslide Deposit in Deuteronilus Mensae

May 22, 2008

This image shows a possible landslide deposit originating from a mesa just east (right) of the center of the scene in Deuteronilus Mensae.

The deposit is the lobe-shaped feature extending across the center of the image. Located at approximately 45 degrees north, where ground ice is thought to be stable, it is possible that the deposit formed from mass wasting of ice-rich material. Mass wasting is a process driven by gravity that moves material downslope; ice enhances the process.

The lobe has distinct textures. It is bouldery at some locations (especially the left side) and pitted or wrinkled at others (especially at right). The pitted texture may be due to desiccation (drying) of soil that can occur when ice from beneath the surface sublimates (going directly from a solid to a gas) and leaves empty spaces into which the surface collapses.