Faults and Pits in the North Polar Residual Ice Cap
Faults and Pits in the North Polar Residual Ice Cap
PSP_001513_2650  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This image shows faults and pits in the north polar residual cap that have not been previously recognized.

The faults and depressions between them are similar to features seen on Earth where the crust is being pulled apart. Such tectonic extension must have occurred very recently, as there the north polar residual cap is very young, as indicated by the paucity of impact craters on its surface.

Alternatively, the faults and pits may be caused by collapse due to removal of material beneath the surface. The pits are aligned along the faults, either because material has drained into the subsurface along the faults or because gas has escaped from the subsurface through them.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff  (13 December 2006)
Acquisition date
22 November 2006

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

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319.8 km (198.8 miles)

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69°, with the Sun about 21° above the horizon

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139.1°, Northern Summer

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Sub-solar azimuth:  323.4°
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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.