Patterns of martian glacial deformation: Implications for glacio-geology, internal structure, and regional climate
Viscous Flow Features (VFF) are widespread in the martian mid-latitudes and indicative of near-surface ice deposits. Their distribution and morphology hint at the regional history of ice deposition and ablation, as well as changes in surface temperature. Here we interrogate the deformation history of a type of VFF, a Lobate Debris Apron (LDA), located in the eastern Hellas region, from its surface morphology, discussing the implications it poses for its internal structure and regional climate variability. Our observations integrate data from the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS), the SHAllow RADar (SHARAD), the Context Camera (CTX), the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), and the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). Morphological observations, spectral analysis of characteristic wavelengths, and ice deformation stability analysis place constraints on the dynamics and deformation history of the deposit. We discuss contrasting hypotheses for the origin of the different surface structures, including the possibility of gelifluction in addition to glacial creep. Our results provide a guide to interpret glacial deformation patterns in martian VFFs in the light of internal structure, regional climate history, and underlying topography.