A new approach to assessing the burial depth of ground ice deposits and its application to proposed MER landing sites in Isidis Planitia
Article first published online: 18 OCT 2003
Copyright 2003 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (1991–2012)
Volume 108, Issue E12, December 2003
How to Cite
2003), A new approach to assessing the burial depth of ground ice deposits and its application to proposed MER landing sites in Isidis Planitia, J. Geophys. Res., 108, 8087, doi:10.1029/2002JE002021, E12., and (
- Issue published online: 18 OCT 2003
- Article first published online: 18 OCT 2003
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 JUN 2003
- Manuscript Revised: 25 JUN 2003
- Manuscript Received: 2 DEC 2002
- thermal modeling;
- landing sites;
- ground ice;
 The recent results by the Gamma Ray Spectrometer instrument on Mars Odyssey [Boynton et al., 2002] indicate the possibility of ground ice deposits within a few meters of the surface even at low latitudes and midlatitudes. The stability of ground ice deposits at these latitudes is a puzzling question. To address this question, we have developed the Berlin Mars Near-Surface Thermal model (BMST), a model for the thermal behavior of the Martian surface with a special focus on the volatile transport within the subsurface material. Using the BMST, we have performed a case study to derive limits on the burial depth of ground ice deposits stable over annual cycles at the MER landing sites in Isidis Planitia. We have studied the temperature gradient within the subsurface, assuming different structures and thermophysical properties for the surface and subsurface material. While the results derived here will have no immediate consequences for the MER mission because Isidis Planitia has been demoted to a backup landing site, the results show the potential and versatility of the model we have developed and give some results on the surface properties of Isidis Planitia.