Mars is thought to have a planet-wide cryosphere of several kilometres depth consisting of a mixture of permanently frozen ice and rock . The physical process of magma-cryosphere interaction (MCI) appears to have played a large part in the morphological development of many regions of Mars [2-7]. The aim of this project was to investigate the physical and thermal processes which may take place during MCI.
Laboratory analogue experiments were used to investigate the effect of heating a cryosphere analogue material in a range of conditions. Two phase (solid particles
and liquid water) and three phase (solid particles, ice, liquid water and steam) systems were investigated. This enabled the identification of several heat transfer mechanisms; the dominance of these mechanisms varied with the conditions
in each experiment. The influence of different heat transfer mechanisms on the development of surface features was also studied.
This research has highlighted the complexity of the heat transfer mechanisms and physical interactions which take place during non-explosive magma-cryosphere interactions on Mars. We have determined that different heat transfer mechanisms result in specific experimental surface morphologies. Similarity to several Martial landforms provides insight into their formation mechanisms. This
research will continue to assist identification and classification of newly discovered landforms within Mars’ enigmatic landscape.
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