What Does an Avalanche Look Like On Mars?

By Sam Gibbs on at

It’s spring on Mars and it’s avalanche season. NASA’s HiRISE satellite was on hand to capture the action as dirt, dust and fine-grained ice cascades like snow on Earth, flying down the side of a massive Martian mountain range.

The avalanches are caused by the carbon dioxide frost that forms on the Martian scarp in the north pole during the darkness of winter, which thaws slightly when the spring sun hits it causing it to loosen and fall just like snow on Earth.

It’s amazing to think that although the atmosphere and temperature ranges of Mars are quite different to our own, formations like this are just the same. It’ll be something we’ll have to deal with just like on Earth once we’ve colonised the red planet. [NASA/University of Arizona via Universe Today]