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Title: Sublimation of terrestrial permafrost and the implications for ice-loss processes on Mars
Authors: Douglas, Thomas A.
Mellon, Michael T.
Keywords: Ice--Sublimation (Chemistry)
Frozen ground
Fairbanks (Alaska)--Soils
Mars (Planet)--Soils
Space vehicles--Landing--Mars (Planet)
Publisher: Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: Miscellaneous Paper (Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)) ; no. ERDC/CRREL MP-21-13
Is Version Of: Douglas, Thomas A., and Michael T. Mellon. "Sublimation of terrestrial permafrost and the implications for ice-loss processes on Mars." Nature communications 10, no. 1 (2019): 1-9.
Abstract: Sublimation of ice is rate-controlled by vapor transport away from its outer surface and may have generated landforms on Mars. In ice-cemented ground (permafrost), the lag of soil particles remaining after ice loss decreases subsequent sublimation. Varying soil-ice ratios lead to differential lag development. Here we report 52 years of sublimation measurements from a permafrost tunnel near Fairbanks, Alaska, and constrain models of sublimation, diffusion through porous soil, and lag formation. We derive the first long-term in situ effective diffusion coefficient of ice-free loess, a Mars analog soil, of 9.05 × 10⁻⁶ m² s⁻¹, ~5× larger than past theoretical studies. Exposed ice-wedge sublimation proceeds ~4× faster than predicted from analogy to heat loss by buoyant convection, a theory frequently employed in Mars studies. Our results can be used to map near-surface ice-content differences, identify surface processes controlling landform formation and morphology, and identify target landing sites for human exploration of Mars.
Description: Miscellaneous Paper
Gov't Doc #: ERDC/CRREL MP-21-13
Rights: Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited
Size: 13 pages / 2.08 MB
Types of Materials: PDF/A
Appears in Collections:Miscellaneous Paper

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