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Space & Astronomy

Ice avalanches found on Iapetus

By T.K. Randall
August 1, 2012 · Comment icon 8 comments



Image Credit: NASA
Huge and destructive landslides have been discovered on Iapetus, one of the moons of Saturn.
These huge landslides can travel far further than similar landslides on Earth, up to 30 times the distance that the material has fallen. Known as 'long-runout landslides', the phenomenon has been a matter of great debate among scientists.

"The landslides on Iapetus are a planet-scale experiment that we cannot do in a laboratory or observe on Earth," said Kelsi Singer of Washington University. "They give us examples of giant landslides in ice, instead of rock, with a different gravity, and no atmosphere. So any theory of long-runout landslides on Earth must also work for avalanches on Iapetus."
Saturn's moon Iapetus frequently plays host to a huge type of landslide or avalanche that is rare elsewhere in the Solar System, scientists report.


Source: BBC News | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by OverSword 10 years ago
I would guess that these extended slides are not caused by the same thing that they speculate causes them on Terra and Mars. Admitedly I know nothing about this but intuition makes me think that the immense gravitational forces that the squat moon is subject to is the bigger influence than heating. Iapetus is the moon that most fascinates me in the solar system with its strange shape, the rise that encircles it directly on its equator, the drastic difference in reflectivity that seems to make a ying and yang symbol, and if I recall nearly identical craters equadistant from each other longitudi... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by spud the mackem 10 years ago
I guess thet they travel 30 times as far there is because they have no air resistance to slow them down.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Abramelin 10 years ago
The Iapetus moon sure is an odd thing, but some are getting totally crazy about it, lol: http://rense.com/general95/indisp.html http://www.bibliotec...naiapetus01.htm .
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 years ago
The Iapetus moon sure is an odd thing, but some are getting totally crazy about it, lol: http://rense.com/general95/indisp.html http://www.bibliotec...naiapetus01.htm . That's a few wasted minutes of my life I'll never get back. I'm sure that total drivel must have killed a few of my brain cells. Every time we discover something new in the universe some one makes a baseless claim that it is proof of ancient alien civilisations. All it is actually proof of is the gullibility of mankind.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Abramelin 10 years ago
Wasted minutes? I thought it was hilarious.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 years ago
Wasted minutes? I thought it was hilarious. If I want to suffer from loss of brain cells and listening to half-baked ideas I'll go to the pub. If I want to read crazy theories about aliens I'll go to Extraterrestrial Life forum. I came here because I wanted to read about science and astronomy.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Abramelin 10 years ago
Must be fun to have a drink with you in the pub...
Comment icon #8 Posted by BaneSilvermoon 10 years ago
Clearly there's soul sand under the ice.


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