Giant Icy Avalanches Seen on Saturn Moon
Iapetus landslides traveled unusually long distances, study says.
With steep crater walls and a 12-mile-high (19-kilometer-high) mountain ridge more than twice the height of Mount Everest, Iapetus has nearly a perfect setup for avalanches, according to study leader Kelsi Singer, a Ph.D. candidate in geology and geophysics at Washington University in St. Louis.
"When you look at Iapetus from space, you can clearly see the equatorial ridge sticking out, and it makes the icy moon look somewhat like a walnut." (Related: "Saturn's 'Walnut' Moon Mystery Cracked?")
The moon "has some of highest topography for its size of any major body in the solar system, and has the most landslides other than Mars," Singer said.
Analyzing the Cassini landslide images, Singer and her team noticed that icy debris falling down the crater walls and