Dynamics of Ices and Fluids on Mars and Kuiper Belt Objects

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The seasonal deposition of CO2 on the polar caps is one of the most dynamic processes on Mars and is a dominant driver of the global climate. Remote sensing temperature

The seasonal deposition of CO2 on the polar caps is one of the most dynamic processes on Mars and is a dominant driver of the global climate. Remote sensing temperature and albedo data were used to estimate the subliming mass of CO2 ice on south polar gullies near Sisyphi Cavi. Results showed that column mass abundances range from 400 - 1000 kg.m2 in an area less than 60 km2 in late winter. Complete sublimation of the seasonal caps may occur later than estimated by large-scale studies and is geographically dependent. Seasonal ice depth estimates suggested variations of up to 1.5 m in depth or 75% in porosity at any one time. Interannual variations in these data appeared to correlate with dust activity in the southern hemisphere. Correlation coefficients were used to investigate the relationship between frost-free surface properties and the evolution of the seasonal ice in this region. Ice on high thermal inertia units was found to disappear before any other ice, likely caused by inhibited deposition during fall. Seasonal ice springtime albedo appeared to be predominantly controlled by orientation, with north-facing slopes undergoing brightening initially in spring, then subliming before south-facing slopes. Overall, the state of seasonal ice is far more complex than globally and regionally averaged studies can identify.

The discovery of cryovolcanic features on Charon and the presence of ammonia hydrates on the surfaces of other medium-sized Kuiper Belt Objects suggests that cryovolcanism may be important to their evolution. A two-dimensional, center-point finite difference, thermal hydraulic model was developed to explore the behavior of cryovolcanic conduits on midsized KBOs. Conduits on a Charon-surrogate were shown to maintain flow through over 200 km of crust and mantle down to radii of R = 0.20 m. Radii higher than this became turbulent due to high viscous dissipation and low thermal conductivity. This model was adapted to explore the emplacement of Kubrik Mons. Steady state flow was achieved with a conduit of radius R = 0.02 m for a source chamber at 2.3 km depth. Effusion rates computed from this estimated a 122 - 163 Myr upper limit formation timescale.