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Giant avalanches may be the cause of spiraling formations at the north pole of Mars

A team of international scientists reveals that the characteristic aspect of the northern pole of Mars, known for its spiraling formations, may have been the result of avalanches that occurred millions of years ago. The researchers claim that the combination of ice and debris will have traveled at a speed of 80 meters per second. It is estimated that one of the largest avalanches will have covered an area of ??104 square kilometers.

Scientists propose a new theory that could explain the appearance of spirals in the northern Martian pole in a recently published study in the scientific journal Planetary and Space Science. The researchers theorize that, after the avalanches caused by the fall of large ice towers, called soft, the formations began to emerge due to the accumulation of debris in the craters.

The images demonstrate two Martian craters with formations in credits: NASA / Planetary and Space Science

To reach a conclusion, the team led by Sergey Krasilnikov, a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences, used data collected by NASA, building several 3D models. The scenarios created support the theory that an excessive accumulation of ice on the slopes caused conditions of critical instability, causing avalanches and later generating the formations of the northern Martian pole.

On the EOS website, Mike Sori, a researcher at the University of Arizona who was not involved in the study, indicated that the new theory could provide a good explanation for what happened on Mars, however, the team needs to further their research. Remember, in general, the scientific community considers that intriguing Martian formations are linear structures that originate in glaciers composed of carbon dioxide that move slowly.