This image shows spectacular erosion of a steep scarp in the icy layered deposits on the South Pole of Mars.
There are small and large alcoves , one of which (on the right) leads to a bright deposit. This must be a recent avalanche deposit, because the ice should sublimate rapidly after being exposed from beneath the protective cover of dust that develops on the surface.
The alcoves may form by a combination of sublimation and collapse. HiRISE is monitoring this site and adjacent areas for changes, to better understand the active processes.
Written by: Alfred McEwen (audio by Tre Gibbs) (3 April 2013)
This is a stereo pair with ESP_030854_1080 .
More info and image formats at http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/ESP_031078_1080
Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona