Icy Flows
Icy Flows
ESP_078292_2175  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
The surface of Mars is littered with examples of glacier-like landforms. While surface ice deposits are mostly limited to the polar caps, patterns of slow, viscous flow abound in many non-polar regions of Mars.

Streamlines that appear as linear ridges in the surface soils and rocky debris are often exposed on top of infilling deposits that coat crater and valley floors. We see such patterns on the surfaces of Earth’s icy glaciers and debris-covered “rock glaciers.” As ice flows downhill, rock and soil are plucked from the surrounding landscape and ferried along the flowing ice surface and within the icy subsurface. While this process is gradual, taking perhaps thousands of years or longer, it creates a network of linear patterns that reveal the history of ice flow.

Later and under warmer conditions, the ice may be lost through melting or sublimation. (Sublimation is the evaporation of ice directly from solid to gas without the presence of liquid.) Rock and minerals concentrated in these long ridges are then left behind, draped over the preexisting landscape.

Written by: Mike Mellon (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (16 August 2023)
Acquisition date
09 April 2023

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
296.7 km (184.4 miles)

Original image scale range
29.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~89 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
44°, with the Sun about 46° above the horizon

Solar longitude
48.7°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  353.2°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (677MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (407MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (343MB)
non-map           (452MB)

IRB color
map projected  (126MB)
non-map           (299MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (182MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (178MB)

RGB color
non map           (312MB)
10K (TIFF)

B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.