Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 1:22 EDT
Erosion Features near the South Pole of Mars
899 of 3811

Erosion Features near the South Pole of Mars

July 14, 2011
This HiRISE image shows erosional features formed by seasonal frost near the south pole of Mars.

During the winter, high latitudes (near the pole) on Mars build up deposits of carbon dioxide frost that can be several feet thick. In the spring these sublimate and turn back into gas. The gas sublimating at the bottom of the frost can move the underlying dust and even erode channels in it.

These channels form a variety of structures; examples like those at this site have been nicknamed "spiders" because many channels converge, giving a many-armed, spidery appearance.

Written by: Colin Dundas