Mantling and Smooth Plains

Data analysis of the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) instrument onboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate that most of the glacier-like landforms in Deuteronilus Mensae contain a high amount of 80-90% of pure water ice. The widespread glacier-like features may represent the preserved remnants of a regional ice sheet, which once could have covered the plateaus and plains. Sublimation in the course of climate change could then have led to down wasting of the ice sheet, exposing and eroding the plateau scarps. Later, annual atmospheric ice and dust deposits form a thick mantling layer. The “ribbed texture” of the smooth plains in the northern part of the image can be explained with downhill creep, leading to fractured ridge and furrow patterns.