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Pingo \PIHN-goh\ n. A dirt-covered mound with an icy core. Pingos appear when underlying permafrost puts pressure on pooled groundwater, forcing it upward. The soil above the water bulges, creating a dome-shaped hill. Pingos might not be exclusive to Earth; Mars is dotted with pingolike mounds. An international team of researchers identified dozens of these geological bumps, some hundreds of meters wide, in satellite images of craters on Mars' Utopia Planitia. The mounds share similar dimensions and densities with Earth pingos, such as those found in northern Canada. The Red Planet's hills may have formed through Earthlike processes of freezing and thawing late in Mars' Amazonian epoch, the team concludes online September 19 in Icarus.

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Title Annotation:SCIENCE NOTEBOOK; Mars' pingos
Author:Bohac, Allison
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2012
Words:126
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