Mapping of water frost and ice at low latitudes on Mars
Carrozzo, F.G. ; Bellucci, G. ; Altieri, F. ; et al. ; - ASI Sponsor
Oct - 2009
DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2009.05.020
ISSN : 00191035 ;
journal : Icarus

Issue : 2
type: Article Journal

This paper reports on mapping of water frost and ice on Mars, in the range of latitudes between 30°S and 30°N. The study has been carried out by analysing 2485 orbits acquired during almost one martian year by the Mars Express/OMEGA imaging spectrometer. Water frost/ice is identified by the presence of ∼1.5\mum, ∼2\mum and ∼3.0\mum absorptions. Although the orbits analysed in this study cover all seasons, water frost/ice is observed only near the aphelion seasons, at Ls=19° and at Ls=98–150°. Water frost/ice is detected mainly on the southern hemisphere between 15°S and 30°S latitude while it has not been identified within 15°S–15°N. In the northern hemisphere, the water frost/ice detection is complicated by the presence of clouds. Usually, water frost/ice is found in shadowed areas, while in few cases it is exposed to the sunlight. This indicates a clear relationship with the local illumination conditions on the slopes which favour the water frost/ice deposition on the surface when the temperatures are very low. OMEGA observations span from 10 to 17LT and the frost/ice is detected mainly between 15 and 16LT, with practically no detection before 13LT. We think this is due to the fact that the 10–12LT observations occur at large distances and it is not a local time effect. A thermal model is used to determine the deposition conditions on the sloped surfaces where water frost/ice has been found. There, daily atmospheric saturation does not occur on pole facing 10–25° slopes with current water vapour abundances but only by assuming values greater than 40pr\mum. Moreover, the water frost/ice is not detected during the northern winter, even if the thermal model foresees daily saturation on 25° slopes.

keywords : Frost,Ices,Mars,Mineralogy,Spectroscopy