On Earth, geologists use layers of rock to " read"the history of our planet. Where rocks were initially formed as layers of sediment, the historic record of Earth is deciphered by knowing that older layers are found beneath the younger layers. Scientists investigating changes in Earth's climate over the past few million years also use this principle to examine cores of ice from Greenland and Antarctica. Layered rock and layered polar deposits on Mars may also preserve a comparable record of that planet's geologic and environmental history. The martian north and south polar regions are covered by large areas of layered deposits. Since their discovery in the early 1970's, these polar layered deposits have been cited as the best evidence that the martian climate experiences cyclic changes over time. It was proposed that detailed investigation of the polar layers (


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