Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
The existence of ice on Mars has been known since the first photographs of the red planet were taken. Visible ice exists at both the north and south poles of Mars, but, beneath debris at mid-latitude regions, ice also exists. Specifically, ice has been proven to exist within a lobate debris apron (LDA) surrounding Euripus Mons, a mountain east of the Hellas impact crater (45°S 105°E). The motivation behind this project was to determine if this ice, held within the Euripus Mons LDA, ever advanced beyond the current observed boundaries. Additionally, if the ice did advance was it a singular event, or, did multiple advances occur.
Milankovitch cycles are generally accepted as a driving factor of terrestrial glaciation, so it is plausible that similar cycles control glaciations on Mars. However, one factor within these cycles, the obliquity shifts, is a major difference between Earth and Mars. The large obliquity shifts of Mars causes a redistribution of ice from the north and south poles to mid-latitude regions, and therefore, it is plausible to believe that during large obliquity shifts of Mars, mid-latitude ice would increase in volume.
It was discovered that the ice did advance beyond the current observed boundaries of the Euripus Mons LDA and evidence of multiple advances appears plausible based upon textural degradation features specific to LDA’s. These multiple advances confirm local climatic shifts, most likely occurring during large obliquity shifts of the planet. Confirming an advance of ice at the Euripus Mons site allows for an in depth look into the previous climatic conditions of Mars as well as lays a foundation upon which a comparison of Milankovitch cycles for Mars and Earth can begin to take place.
Belanus, Luke David, "Multiple Glaciations on Mars?" (2016). Undergraduate Theses and Senior Projects. 117.