The ice floe is no longer there, but scientists have detected remains among other mineral deposits near Mars’ equatorial region.
The deposits here often contain light colored sulfate salts.
When the scientists took a closer look, they observed the characteristics of a glacier with debris being deposited or pushed by a moving glacier.
The research team also identified rift areas, or deep wedge-shaped openings, that form inside glaciers.
The findings were shared Wednesday at the 54th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Woodlands, Texas.
D., a senior planetary scientist at the SETI Institute and Mars Institute, lead author of the study. “What we found is not ice, but a salt bed with detailed morphological features of a glacier. What we thought was here was salt formed at the top of a glacier, maintaining the shape of the rift areas and the ice below,” Pascal Lee said in a statement. said.
Researchers believe the glacier is 6 kilometers long and about 4 kilometers wide, and at an altitude of 1.3 to 1.7 kilometers.
The scientists want to determine if any pieces of the glacier remain, and if so, how much is found in the shallow depths below the salt deposits.
If this particular salt deposit is protecting the ice, it is possible that other ice pockets may be found nearby.