Dynamic and isotopic evolution of ice reservoirs on Mars

1E.Vos,1,2O.Aharonson,2N.Schorghofer
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2019.01.018]
1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
2Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
Copyright Elsevier

The layered polar caps of Mars have long been thought to be related to variations in orbit and axial tilt. We dynamically link Mars’s past climate variations with the stratigraphy and isotopic composition of its ice by modeling the exchange of H2O and HDO among three reservoirs. The model shows that the interplay among equatorial, mid-latitude, and north-polar layered deposits (NPLD) induces significant isotopic changes in the cap. The diffusive properties of the sublimation lags and dust content in our model result in a cap size consistent with current Mars. The layer thicknesses are mostly controlled by obliquity variations, but the precession period of 50 kyr dominates the variations in the isotopic composition during epochs of relatively low and nearly constant obliquity such as at present. Isotopic sampling of the top 100 m may reveal climate oscillations unseen in the layer thicknesses and would thus probe recent precession-driven climate cycles.

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