The northern polar ice cap of Mars contains a thick stack of layers rich in water ice. Under the right conditions ice can flow, as seen in ice sheets and glaciers on Earth. What about Mars?
A group of scientists led by Nanna Karlsson (University of Copenhagen) used SHARAD radar images showing the layers inside the Martian north polar ice cap to build a 3D computer model. They examined the layers at Gemina Lingula, the southernmost part of the layered deposits, seeking to compare the model with the radar layers and look for evidence of flow.
However, writing in Geophysical Research Letters, they report that they found no compelling evidence in the layers’ structure that ice flowed between the main ice dome of the polar cap and Gemina Lingula. This implies, they conclude, that the current shape and form of the layered deposits are mainly controlled by the ordinary processes of erosion and deposition. Also, they write that “the north polar layered deposits have not been subjected to substantially warmer temperatures in the past.”