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Louth Crater

Title: Louth Crater: Evolution of a layered water ice mound
Author: Adrian J. Brown, Shane Byrne, Livio L. Tornabene, Ted L. Roush

We report on observations made of the ~36km diameter crater, Louth, in the north polar region of Mars (at 70N, 103.2E). High-resolution imagery from the instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft has been used to map a 15km diameter water ice deposit in the center of the crater. The water ice mound has surface features that include roughened ice textures and layering similar to that found in the North Polar Layered Deposits. Features we interpret as sastrugi and sand dunes show consistent wind patterns within Louth over recent time. CRISM spectra of the ice mound were modeled to derive quantitative estimates of water ice and contaminant abundance, and associated ice grain size information. These morphologic and spectral results are used to propose a stratigraphy for this deposit and adjoining sand dunes. Our results suggest the edge of the water ice mound is currently in retreat.

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