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North polar geysers on Mars?

  1. Sep 8, 2007 #1
    Fan shaped deposits at the south pole have been attributed to CO2 gas

    Gas jets spawn dark 'spiders' and spots on Mars icecap.
    http://themis.asu.edu/news-polarjets [Broken]

    This MOC image might show a similar process occurs at the north pole:

    North polar terrain.

    MOC image of Mars north pole.

    Blown up image of the fan deposits:


    Dana Johnson on the Mars forum Markcarey.com/mars/ produced this
    blown up image:

    North polar geysers?

    In post #5 in that thread he noticed there are deposits on both sides
    of dunes that are fan shaped. On one side of the dunes, the fan-shaped
    deposits are more compact and not as blown out by the wind. The wind
    direction determines which side the more blown out deposits are on.
    The deposits on either sides of the dunes seem to originate from a
    point source at the crests of the dunes.
    In his post Johnson, argues the deposits are due to a liquid flow but
    I can't confirm this.

    This report to the 7th International Conference on Mars may give
    another example of the north polar geysers in Fig. 4:

    Sylvain Piqueux and Philip R. Christensen, School of Earth and Space
    Exploration, Mars Space Flight Facility, Arizona State University,
    Tempe AZ 85287, USA, *...@asu.edu.
    Seventh International Conference on Mars 3069.pdf

    In Fig. 5 of this report is also given an example of a formation that
    might be a north polar analogue of the "spiders" that had already been
    seen at the south pole.
    The authors also discuss polygonal terrain seen nearby. They
    attribute these polygons to CO2 gas release, as has been used to
    explain the geysers and the "spiders".
    However, on Earth such polygonal terrain is due to freeze-thaw cycles
    in periglacial regions requiring liquid water in the thaw phase.
    Then liquid water or brines at the poles on Mars, perhaps protected
    by a dust or ice cover, may be involved in the formation of the
    geysers and "spiders" as well.

    Here's the image containing possible north polar geysers in that

    Traverse across north polar scarp.

    A follow up to that image is contained here:

    North polar defrosting dunes repeat portion of E20-00185.

    The authors of the report also noted the geysers appeared to orginate
    from dune crests.
    Here is a list of MOC images of north polar dunes:

    MOC Images of North Polar Dunes.
    http://www.markus-harder.de/dunes.html [Broken]

    This may be a good place to start to search for other examples of the

    This report presented to the 7th International Conference on Mars
    suggests they *might* have seen one of the more common south polar
    geysers actively venting:

    HiRISE Views of the Sublimation of Mars' Southern Seasonal CO2 Cap.
    C. J. Hansen1 , C. Okubo2, A. McEwen 2, Shane Byrne3, E. DeJong1, K.
    Herkenhoff3, M. Mellon4, P. Russell5, and N. Thomas5, 1Jet Propulsion
    Lab, Pasadena, CA 91101, 2University of Arizona, Department of
    Planetary Sciences, Tucson, AZ 85721, 3USGS, 2255
    N. Gemini Dr., Flagstaff, AZ 86001, 4University of Colorado, Boulder,
    CO, 5Physikalisches Institut, Universitaet Bern, Schweiz.
    Seventh International Conference on Mars 3364.pdf

    From the report:

    "Our approach was to attempt to detect dust
    plumes by acquiring stereo images separated by a very
    short time interval. Near the pole the orbit groundtracks
    are closely spaced allowing us to image a given
    location with just one orbit (~2 hour) separation. Any
    geyser-like activity should be detectable in stereo images
    as a plume rising above the surface. The hypothesis
    that every spot is a site of gas jets [3,4] implies
    that the probability of catching a geyser in action
    is very high."
    HiRISE Views of the Sublimation of Mars' Southern Seasonal CO2 Cap, p.


    "At one location in the Manhattan Island region, using
    our stereo imaging technique, we may have captured
    a geyser in the process of eruption. It is a tenuous
    detection at best, very near the limits of the camera
    capability. The putative plume is not high above the
    surface (< 10m high) and is optically very thin. In
    stereo small bumps on the surface can be observed that
    may be the site of other gas jets. Figure 5 shows the
    bumps and small fans that may be the initiation of the
    gas release. They show up in stereo as small localized
    slightly elevated areas on the surface. Figure 6 shows
    the fan we believe may be actively venting."
    HiRISE Views of the Sublimation of Mars' Southern Seasonal CO2 Cap, p.

    Here's a link to the 3-D anaglyph from the report *possibly* showing
    a venting geyser:


    In Fig. 1 of this report are also given color before and after images
    of a geyser region. The authors do not say these images are "false
    color" or "enhanced color", but it is interesting the changes appear
    blue in color.

    Bob Clark

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
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