Stormy activity at Mars’ icy north pole

Stormy activity at Mars’ icy north pole
Image:

This image shows part of the ice cap sitting at Mars’ north pole, complete with bright swathes of ice, dark troughs and depressions, and signs of strong winds and stormy activity.

The landscape here is a rippled mix of colour. Dark red and ochre-hued troughs appear to cut through the icy white of the polar cap; these form part of a wider system of depressions that spiral outwards from the very centre of the pole. Visible to the left of the frame are a few extended streams of clouds, aligned perpendicularly to a couple of the troughs. These are thought to be caused by small local storms that kick up dust into the martian atmosphere, eroding scarps and slopes as they do so and slowly changing the appearance of the troughs over time.

This image comprises data gathered on 16 November 2006 during orbit 3670. The ground resolution is approximately 15 m/pixel and the images are centred at about 244°E/85°N. This image was created using data from the nadir and colour channels of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). The nadir channel is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, as if looking straight down at the surface. North is to the upper right.

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