Avalanches on Saturn give clue to landslides
Monday 30 July 2012
Giant avalanches on an icy moon of Saturn may provide clues about devastating landslides on Earth, say scientists.
Images from the American space agency Nasa's Cassini spacecraft revealed 30 massive ice falls on Iapetus, a moon girdled by steep 12-mile high mountains.
In 17 cases the avalanches fell down crater walls, while another 13 swept down the sides of the equatorial mountain range. At high speeds, the falling ice began to behave like a liquid, travelling many miles horizontally or up inclines before coming to rest. Experts are still trying to explain a similar phenomenon seen in landslides and earthquakes on Earth.
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