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Mega-landslides on Mars may speed down slopes at 450 Mph

By Mike Wall
December 01, 2017, 2:52:02 PM EST

Mars landslide

One of the deepest craters in Mars' Tagus Valles region lies in the foreground of this perspective view. Numerous landslides have occurred within this crater, leaving grooves in the wall as material slumped to the floor below. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Powerful landslides may rumble down Martian slopes at up to 450 mph (725 km/h), sped along by slippery ice, a new study suggests.

Researchers Fabio Vittorio De Blasio and Giovanni Battista Crosta, both of the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy, modeled the dynamics of landslides on Mars, especially those inside Valles Marineris, the gigantic canyon system near the Red Planet's equator.

The duo found that ice — at the landslides' bases and/or spread widely throughout the Martian soil — is likely a key player in these dramatic flows of Red Planet rock and dirt.

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