Avalanche Season

layers of rock and ice, seen from above, with a cloud of dust where some material has slipped downhill
CreditNASA/JPL/University of Arizona 
Historical DateMay 29, 2019
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An avalanche near the north pole of Mars, as observed by the HiRISE instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Every spring the Sun shines on the side of the stack of layers at the north pole of Mars known as the north polar layered deposits. The warmth destabilizes the ice and blocks break loose.

When they reach the bottom of the more than 500-meter (1600-foot) tall cliff face, the blocks kick up a cloud of dust. The layers beneath are different colors and textures depending on the amount of dust mixed with ice.

Written by: Candy Hansen