Estate Planning Attorney inArcadia, SC

Let's Talk!

Platform Lifts-phone-nuber 843-936-6680

Securing Your Legacy in South

Did you know that one in two U.S. citizens have yet to create a plan for their estate? Just about everyone knows they need to get their affairs in order, but most people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. It's an uncomfortable subject to think about. After all, nobody wants to ponder their death and what happens to their assets when they pass. However, working with an estate planning lawyer in Arcadia, SC, protects you, your loved ones, and your assets, both while you're alive and after you have died. There isn't a perfect time to plan your estate, but there is a right time and that time is now.

We understand that there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to your estate planning needs. That's why, at CDH Law Firm, we make a concerted effort to speak with our clients personally so that we can create an estate plan that is as unique as they are. Our estate plans are comprehensive, cost-effective, and catered to you. That way, your family is provided if you are incapacitated or pass away.

At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure that every one of our clients leaves our office feeling less stressed and more informed. Peace of mind is valuable currency these days. Why worry about the future of your loved ones when you can use South Carolina law to ensure their stability?

Many of the clients in Arcadia that walk through our doors have significant questions that require serious answers. They're filled with doubt, stress, and worry. They're worried about their children, their spouse, their relatives, or all the above. They ask questions like:

  • How much does estate planning cost?
  • What kind of results can I expect?
  • How long will this process take?

If these questions sound familiar, know that you are not alone. At CDH Law Firm, we have worked with hundreds of clients just like you. Sometimes, these clients are unsatisfied with their current estate planning attorney in Arcadia. Other times, they have been served with confusing papers or documents that leave them feeling overwhelmed. In either case, clients come to our office knowing they need to manage what is often a sudden, foreign situation.

The good news? We sit down with all new clients for an hour at no extra cost. We do so to get a basic sense of their situation and help steer them in the right direction. That way, they can leave our office feeling a little wiser and a lot better about the future.

Estate Planning Law Arcadia, SC
Service Areas

Our firm specializes in several areas of estate planning and family law, including:

  • Estate Planning
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Living Wills
  • Heath Care Power of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Revocable Trusts
  • Retirement Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts

The CHSA Law

At CHSA Law, LLC, estate planning is like second nature to us. Having worked hundreds upon hundreds of cases, we have the knowledge and experience to assist with all the estate planning needs that you or your family have.

As our client, you will always work directly with your attorney. We do not pass cases off to paralegals or junior associates. Because your concerns and questions don't end when our office closes, we encourage our clients to contact us at any time.

Because we limit the number of cases we accept, we have the time and resources to truly dedicate ourselves to each of our clients. Unlike some competitors, we care about the outcome of every case because we know that our clients' future depends on it.

 Estate Planning Attorney Arcadia, SC The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference

What Our Clients Say

What is Estate Planning in
Arcadia, SC?

The word "estate" might make you think of a sprawling mansion in the French countryside. The truth is, you don't have to be rich to have an estate. In fact, most people already have an estate. An estate comprises the assets that a person owns like cars, bank accounts, real estate, businesses, and other possessions. Everyone's estate is different, but we all have one thing in common: none of us can take our estates with us when we die. When that does eventually happen, you will need legal instructions that state who gets what from your estate in plain terms.That, in a nutshell, is estate planning building a framework in advance that names the organizations or people that should receive your assets after you die. Planning your estate now helps make life much easier for your family down the line.

 Estate Planning Lawyer Arcadia, SC
A good estate plan covers more than fiscal assets, however. A comprehensive
estate plan should include the following:
  • If you have children who are minors, instructions as to who will be their guardian when you die.
  • Long-term care insurance if you suffer from an extended injury or illness.
  • Instructions that dictate what happens to you and your financial affairs if you become incapacitated before death.
  • Instructions on the transfer of your business after retirement, incapacity, disability, or death.
  • Instructions on how to provide for loved ones who might need help managing money or who need protection from creditors.
  • Probate and tax avoidance that help minimize court fees, taxes, and legal fees.
  • Planning Medicaid payments.
  • Instructions that help complete or update beneficiary designations.
  • Assist family members who have special needs without disqualifying them from government benefits.

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning isn't just for adults who are approaching retirement age. Estate planning is for everyone. After all, we're all getting older, and none of us know exactly when it will be our time to go.

The Basics of Estate Planning
in Arcadia, SC

Although estate planning can be complicated, a well-rounded plan makes a huge difference in what is left to your beneficiaries. Before you start planning your estate, it's important to know a few common topics that may arise as you detail your needs.


Working with a Tax Advisor and Estate Planning
Attorney in Arcadia, SC

Working with a veteran estate planning lawyer is a no-brainer, but you should consider working with a tax advisor too. Your attorney's role is to help guide you through the creation of your estate planning documents. Common documents include your will, health care directives, and power of attorney. Your tax advisor will help guide you through tax issues associated with your estate planning needs.

In this relationship, you make the decisions while your attorney and tax advisor help you understand and think through the options you're considering. As a team, they will help you state your wishes clearly while minimizing mistakes and adjusting your plans as they change. Because significant savings can result from thorough, informed planning, you should seriously consider working with a tax advisor in addition to your estate planning attorney.

 Law Firm Arcadia, SC

Your Estate

If there were one overriding theme of estate planning, it would be maximizing what you plan to leave behind. Thinking through how each of your assets will be distributed is crucial to your estate. Your decisions may change depending on the type of asset, its size, how old you are, and several other factors. With an attorney on your side, you will gain a thorough understanding of what actions you should take to care for your family while minimizing expenses like taxes and court fees.

Estate Planning Law Arcadia, SC

Inheritance, Estate,
and Gift Taxes

One of the biggest parts of maximizing what you're leaving behind is to minimize taxes. Federal taxes on estates and gifts are incredibly high. Both forms of taxes usually have exemption limits, which means you can give up to a specific amount without being taxed. Your lawyer can achieve that by using the gift tax exemption to move assets while you are still alive. This strategy maximizes how much your beneficiaries will receive.

Inheritance taxes are often based on the value of your estate and paid prior to asset distribution to your beneficiaries.

 Estate Planning Attorney Arcadia, SC

Choosing the
Executor of Your Will

The executor of your estate plays a key role in your affairs. Their responsibilities include carrying out the terms of your will and seeing the estate settlement process through until the end. Obviously, such a role demands a qualified person. Choosing your executor isn't an easy decision. The person you select should be great at managing money, be savvy financially, and show an ability to be patient. That's because the executor is tasked with:

  • Collecting Your Assets
  • Paying Outstanding Bills
  • Submitting Tax Returns
  • Petitioning the Court for Documents
  • Distributing Assets to Your Beneficiaries
 Estate Planning Lawyer Arcadia, SC

If the person that you choose as executor is inexperienced with the estate settlement process, it is recommended that they lean on an estate planning attorney in Arcadia, SC for guidance. It should be noted that you may appoint more than a single executor to your estate. This is common when two individuals have complementary personalities or skill sets.

The Benefits of Estate Planning
in Arcadia, SC

One of the biggest benefits of planning your estate is the peace of mind it brings to you and your family. With the help of our expert estate planning attorneys, you have the power to protect your assets, privacy, and children's welfare. You can also potentially save money on taxes or even avoid probate. By having your wishes legally documented before death or incapacity, you can minimize any impact on your beneficiaries and take control of your legacy. Without a comprehensive estate plan, you're leaving the future of your loved ones in the hands of the South Carolina court system.

With an estate plan in place, you can plan for incapacity by using a power of attorney or advanced medical directives. Doing so relieves your loved ones of the burden of asking the court for the authority to fulfill your wishes.

At CDH Law Firm, we are committed to helping you prepare for both the expected and unexpected through years of experience and a fierce dedication to our clients. From establishing trusts to designing business succession plans, we are here to fight for you.

At CDH we offer a "Will Package" that includes 4 necessary documents.

If a husband and wife each purchase reciprocating will packages we give a discount. Reciprocating just means the husband names the wife and the wife names the husband. Those four documents are:

  • Last will and testament
  • Healthcare power of attorney
  • Durable power of attorney
  • living will

Common Documents Included
in Your Estate Plan

As mentioned above, everyone's estate planning needs will be different. However, most plans include one or more of the following documents:



Your will is an essential piece of documentation and is often considered the cornerstone of a proper estate plan. Generally speaking, your will is a document that dictates the distribution of your assets after your death. Having an iron-clad will is one of the best ways to make sure that your wishes are communicated clearly. As is the case with most estate planning, it is highly recommended that you work with an estate planning attorney in Arcadia, SC, to create and update your will.

The contents of a will typically include:

  • Designation of the executor, who is responsible for adhering to the provisions of your will.
  • Designation of beneficiaries the people who will be inheriting your assets
  • Instructions that dictate how and when your beneficiaries will receive assets.
  • Instructions that assign guardianship for any minor children.

Without a will in place, the State of South Carolina will decide how to distribute assets to your beneficiaries. Allowing the state to distribute your assets is often an unfavorable route to take, since the settlement process may not include what you had in mind for your survivors. Having a will drafted that reflects your wishes will prevent such a situation from happening.

 Law Firm Arcadia, SC

Living Will

Despite its name, a living will does not instruct your survivors on what assets go where. Also called an advanced directive, your living will allows you to state your end-of-life medical wishes if you have become unable to communicate. This important document provides guidance to family members and doctors and solidifies certain issues like whether you should be resuscitated after an accident.

For example, it's common to direct that palliative care (care to decrease pain and suffering) always be administered if needed. Conversely, you may state that certain measures are not allowed, like CPR.

Estate Planning Law Arcadia, SC


Traditionally, a trust is used to minimize estate taxes and maximize other benefits as part of a well-rounded estate plan. This fiduciary agreement lets a trustee hold your assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. There are many ways to arrange a trust to specify when and how your assets are distributed.

With a trust in place, your beneficiaries can avoid going to probate. That means they may be able to gain access to your assets quicker than when they are transferred with a standard will. Assets placed in a trust can pass outside of probate, which will save you and your family time, money, and stress.

There are two distinct trust categories that you should be aware of: revocable and irrevocable.

 Estate Planning Attorney Arcadia, SC

Revocable Trust:

Also called a living trust, a revocable trust helps assets circumvent probate. With this trust, you can control your assets while you are still alive. These trusts are flexible and may be dissolved at any point in time. This type of trust becomes irrevocable upon your death. Revocable trusts can help you avoid the pitfalls of probate but be aware that they are usually still taxable.

Irrevocable Trust:

This kind of trust transfers assets out of your estate so that they are not taxed and do not have to go through probate. However, once an irrevocable trust has been executed, it may not be altered. That means that once you establish this kind of trust, you lose control of its assets and cannot dissolve the trust. If your primary goal is to avoid taxes on your estate, setting up an irrevocable could be a wise choice.

When drafted with the help of an estate planning lawyer in Arcadia, SC, your trust can also:

Protect Your Legacy:

When constructed properly, a trust can protect your estate from your heirs' creditors. This can be a huge relief for beneficiaries who might need to brush up on money management skills.

Privacy and Probate:

Probate records are made available for public consumption. With a trust, you may have the choice of having your assets pass outside of probate court so that they remain private. In the process, you may also save money that you would lose to taxes and court fees.

Control Wealth:

Because you can specify the exact terms of a trust, you have more control over who receives your assets and when they receive them. As an example, you can set up a revocable trust so that your assets are attainable while you're alive. When you pass, remaining assets are distributed, even in complex situations involving children from multiple marriages.

The Top Estate Planning Law Firm in the Lowcountry

If you know that you need to provide for your family and loved ones after your death, it's time to develop your estate plan. With CDH Law Firm by your side, planning your estate doesn't have to be difficult. However, it does need to be accurate and executed exactly to your wishes something that we have been helping clients achieve for years. Don't leave your legacy up to chance contact our office today and secure your future generations.


Latest News in Arcadia, SC

ACRE and ARK Residential Announce Plans for ‘The Springs at Arcadia’ in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ACRE, a global real estate private equity firm, and its partner ...

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ACRE, a global real estate private equity firm, and its partner ARK Residential today unveiled plans for The Springs at Arcadia, a 150-unit single-family-rental (SFR) community in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Construction of the community is underway, and pre-leasing commenced in January of 2023.

ACRE and ARK Residential, will acquire the 150 homes directly from the builder, Atlanta-based Pulte Group. The Springs at Arcadia ( will serve as the exclusive rental community within the larger master-planned community known as Arcadia. The partnership expects to deliver approximately 30 homes per quarter, with an estimated completion date of Q1 2024. Springs at Arcadia will be professionally managed by Elmington Property Management.

“We’re excited to plant a flag in Myrtle Beach, a market that is seeing tremendous growth recently, with particularly strong demand for SFR product,” said Bret Hewett, Vice President of Acquisitions for ACRE. “We’re thrilled to have ARK Residential partnering with us as we execute on ACRE’s broader mission of bringing high quality multifamily and SFR developments to under-served markets.”

A Cushman & Wakefield Equity, Debt & Structured Finance team of John Alascio, Chuck Kohaut, TJ Sullivan, John Spreitzer and Aaron Graves arranged $37 million in acquisition financing with Arbor Realty Trust, Inc. for the project.

“The Springs at Arcadia will be a rare opportunity for rental tenants in Myrtle Beach. The property is surrounded by tall pine trees and feels very private and secluded, while having convenient access to large employers, supermarkets, and retail centers,” said David Beare, a co-founder and a partner of ARK Residential. “In addition, the community is zoned for the Socastee school district, one of the best public-school districts in Horry County.”

The Springs at Arcadia is part of a larger roll out of branded SFR communities under ARK’s ‘The Springs’ brand. Other communities are slated to open throughout the Carolinas, Georgia and Texas. The Springs will be tenant focused offering full-service rental housing with a wide array of amenity offerings focusing on health and wellness.

The Springs at Arcadia will feature three- and four-bedroom detached homes with varying floorplans, ranging in size from approximately 1,500 to 2,300 square feet. The one- and two-story homes will offer elegant interiors with top-of-the-line finishes; high-quality, energy-efficient appliances and fixtures; fully sodded and professionally landscaped front, rear, and side lawns; and two-car garages. Residents will also have access to the master plan’s recreational center, complete with a large clubhouse, pickleball courts, a resort-style pool, and more.

Located in the northeastern portion of South Carolina between Charleston and Wilmington, North Carolina, Myrtle Beach is a coastal resort city and a hub of the Grand Strand, a 60-mile complex of beach towns and barrier islands. Myrtle Beach is the heart of South Carolina’s well-established $24 billion tourism industry, and home to Myrtle Waves, one of the largest waterparks on the eastern seaboard; the Carolina Opry; the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk; Myrtle Beach State Park; Hard Rock Park; and over 90 golf courses.

Notable employers located in the region include GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Boeing, Conway Medical Center, Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, & Tidelands Health among others.

About ACRE

ACRE is a vertically integrated private equity firm specializing in commercial real estate through active investments in both direct equity and debt capital markets as well as special situation opportunities. ACRE manages a global portfolio in excess of $3.2 billion concentrated in U.S. multifamily with holdings in the United Kingdom and Southeast Asia through separate verticals. ACRE has offices in Atlanta, New York, and Singapore.

About ARK

ARK Residential LLC (“ARK”) is a real estate investment and management platform, created by Midtown Equities LLC and its partners to pursue quality single-family rental communities, multifamily, mixed-use assets and land development opportunities in key markets throughout the United States.

Arbor Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ABR) is a nationwide real estate investment trust and direct lender, providing loan origination and servicing for multifamily, single-family rental (SFR) portfolios, and other diverse commercial real estate assets. Headquartered in Uniondale, New York, Arbor manages a multibillion-dollar servicing portfolio, specializing in government-sponsored enterprise products. Arbor is a leading Fannie Mae DUS® lender, Freddie Mac Optigo® Seller/Servicer, and an approved FHA Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) lender. Arbor’s product platform also includes bridge, CMBS, mezzanine, and preferred equity loans. Rated by Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, Arbor is committed to building on its reputation for service, quality, and customized solutions with an unparalleled dedication to providing our clients excellence over the entire life of a loan.

Walter Isaacson joins Arcadia Publishing

Bestselling author Walter Isaacson is joining Arcadia Publishing, the Mount Pleasant-based publisher of local and regional books.Isaacson, who has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, will serve as editor-at-large and senior adviser for the company. He is currently a professor of history at Tulane University in New Orleans and an advisory partner at ...

Bestselling author Walter Isaacson is joining Arcadia Publishing, the Mount Pleasant-based publisher of local and regional books.

Isaacson, who has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, will serve as editor-at-large and senior adviser for the company. He is currently a professor of history at Tulane University in New Orleans and an advisory partner at financial services firm Perella Weinberg Partners.

David Steinberger, president and CEO of Arcadia Publishing, said Isaacson knew Michael Lynton, Arcadia’s board chairman, and expressed an interest in working with Arcadia to connect people with their pasts and their communities.

“He had specifically returned to New Orleans, which is where he grew up, to teach at Tulane because he is really … motivated to reconnect with his hometown,” Steinberger said. “And he believes that that’s a powerful trend that is, that you can see in a lot of different aspects of American life right now. People are looking for that meaningful connection.”

Isaacson’s role, which will be part-time, entails acquiring, editing and promoting books for Arcadia, as well as assisting the company in developing new strategies and partnerships.

Steinberger said he and Isaacson have discussed several New Orleans-centric projects that the author may be working on in the near future.

“They’re very consistent with the kind of hyperlocal history that Arcadia is known for,” Steinberger said. “There are a few ideas in development, but that’s the stage we’re at right now.”

Isaacson will also be a financial investor in the company, but Steinberger said he couldn’t disclose how much Isaacson had invested in Arcadia.

Arcadia was acquired in May by an investor group led by sister and brother Lili Lynton, co-founder of The Dinex Group, and Michael Lynton, chairman of Snap Inc. and former CEO of Sony Entertainment Inc.

“We are building a publishing company uniquely positioned for growth in today’s retail and consumer environment, and Walter’s expertise and experience will be invaluable,” Michael Lynton said in a statement.

Cold storage company announces investment, new jobs for Dorchester County

RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - A cold storage solutions company plans to invest more than $70 million to establish operations in Dorchester County, the governor’s office announced Thursday.Arcadia Cold Storage & Logistics is a third-party cold chain services provider that focuses on handling, storage, distribution and value-added services for the food industry. The company works to bridge supply gaps within the cold chain industry through modern cold storage warehouse development and services.“We are extremely excite...

RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - A cold storage solutions company plans to invest more than $70 million to establish operations in Dorchester County, the governor’s office announced Thursday.

Arcadia Cold Storage & Logistics is a third-party cold chain services provider that focuses on handling, storage, distribution and value-added services for the food industry. The company works to bridge supply gaps within the cold chain industry through modern cold storage warehouse development and services.

“We are extremely excited about this project and want to express our sincere thanks to the South Carolina Ports Authority, Dorchester County, our Saxum Real Estate partners, the Governor and the Department of Commerce in the great state of South Carolina for their support,” Arcadia CEO Chris Hughes said. “We are very bullish on the Charleston market — the advantages of the Port of Charleston as a Southeast gateway out of and into the U.S. — and on our ability to provide the specialized and unique handling and storage services that will be required for retailers, frozen and refrigerated food manufacturers, and fruit and produce importers to grow their market share in the region. Most importantly, we are proud to bring new jobs to Dorchester County and the surrounding communities.”

The new operation, which will be located at the Ridgeville Industrial Campus, will support high-volume throughput handling services including a variety of value-added services, full pallet handling, case picking and transportation management. The company will utilize the Port of Charleston to support both import and export trade.

“The demand for efficient food distribution across the United States will only continue to grow, and it’s innovative companies like Arcadia Cold Storage & Logistics that are answering the call and addressing supply gaps,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “We are proud to welcome this company to Dorchester County, and look forward to the positive impact they will make in South Carolina and on the U.S. food supply chain.”

The company expects the investment will create 69 new jobs.

“We are excited to welcome Arcadia Cold Storage & Logistics to Dorchester County and celebrate the 69 new jobs that the company will create,” Secretary of Commerce Harry Lightsey said. “South Carolina’s talented workforce, ideal East Coast location and efficient infrastructure network make our state the perfect location for Arcadia Cold Storage & Logistics’ new operations.”

The facility is expected to be operational by early 2024. Those interested in joining the Arcadia Cold Storage & Logistics team should visit the company’s careers page.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Arcadia Elementary's Chuck Bagwell named SC Principal of the Year

Arcadia Elementary School was in full celebration mode on Tuesday.It was a surprise celebration honoring the school’s leader, Principal Chuck Bagwell, who was announced as the state’s 2013 Elementary School Principal of the Year by the S.C. Association of School Administrators.Bagwell was greeted in the school auditorium by a bouquet of balloons and a room full of cheering students, teachers and administrators, representing the school, District 6 and the state.Bagwell was nominated for the titl...

Arcadia Elementary School was in full celebration mode on Tuesday.

It was a surprise celebration honoring the school’s leader, Principal Chuck Bagwell, who was announced as the state’s 2013 Elementary School Principal of the Year by the S.C. Association of School Administrators.

Bagwell was greeted in the school auditorium by a bouquet of balloons and a room full of cheering students, teachers and administrators, representing the school, District 6 and the state.

Bagwell was nominated for the title by the school district and selected after a competitive application and interview process.

SCASA Executive Director Molly Spearman said Bagwell’s dedication to the school and its students during his 10 years as principal was obvious.

“His passion and just the total commitment to this school came in loud and clear,” Spearman said. “He goes far beyond what is required to be a great principal.”

District 6 Superintendent Darryl Owings said it was Bagwell’s true passion for the school and community that prompted his recommendation for the award. Owings pointed out Bagwell’s emphasis on family involvement through weekly parenting classes that also provide opportunities for caregivers to improve their English skills. More than half of Arcadia’s student population is Hispanic, and many take ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes.

“When you think of Dr. Bagwell, you think of total immersion into a school and into a community, a true love for the school and the children — not only the academic piece,” Owings said. “The total care of the students and their families is evident when you walk into the school.”

Bagwell said he was “dumbfounded” to hear the news and credited the support of teachers, other administrators and the community. He also praised Arcadia’s students.

“I enjoy just being here and watching them grow,” Bagwell said. “This is my mission field.”

Students said that Bagwell’s new title is well deserved. Many stopped to offer hugs or enthusiastic high-fives after the assembly.

Fifth-grader Geovanny Chavez said that Bagwell “is good to all students and teachers.”

Yazmin Chavez, also a fifth-grader, said that her principal is lots of fun.

“He does lots of activities to support the school,” said Yazmin, 10. “He encourages us to study, and I always see him with a smile. He deserves this and much more.”

Possible new type of glacier just discovered on Mars

A potential Mars landing site might be underlain by debris-covered glaciers.Strange sinuous features on a flat plain known as Arcadia Planitia bear a striking resemblance to ice streams within ice sheets in Antarctica, a new study finds. If these shallowly covered glaciers do, in fact...

A potential Mars landing site might be underlain by debris-covered glaciers.

Strange sinuous features on a flat plain known as Arcadia Planitia bear a striking resemblance to ice streams within ice sheets in Antarctica, a new study finds. If these shallowly covered glaciers do, in fact, exist, they could be a reason to direct future crewed missions to Mars toward the region. The spot was already intriguing to SpaceX and NASA because it is a broad, flat plain, which is ideal for landing spacecraft. If there is ice not too deep below the surface of the plain, astronauts could also have a water source easily at hand.

The newfound flow-like features are strange because they occur on flat terrain, said study leader Shannon Hibbard, a doctoral student at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

"There's lots of evidence that this is an ice-rich area, but we don't have any major topographic relief occurring where these sinuous features are," Hibbard told Live Science. "They're existing in a pretty flat-lying plane, so that was kind of odd."

Related: 5 Mars myths and misconceptions

Mystery landforms

Arcadia Planitia is in Mars' northern lowlands. In the last 3 billion years, active lava flows smoothed over this region, so that it is far less pocked with craters compared with other parts of the planet. Data collected from orbit over the years suggest that the ground in the region is rich in hydrogen. Because water is made of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, this hydrogen suggests the presence of water ice right below the surface.

For decades, scientists have noticed features on Mars that look ice-related. Alongside low hills, there are aprons of debris known as lobate features because of their shape, which look like the outflow of glaciers covered in a thin layer of rocks. There are also striated patterns within gullies that look similar to glaciers flowing through valleys on Earth.

Similar features occur in Arcadia Planitia, Hibbard said. Lobate features occur near a set of mountains known as the Erebus Montes that rise from the plain. Sinuous features snake through low-lying areas. She and her colleagues pulled together observations from multiple different instruments to try to identify these features. This included photographs from orbit, thermal data showing the temperature of the surface in both day and night, albedo data that reveals the reflectivity of the surface, information on the dust cover and data on elevation and topography.

Glacial flow

The sinuous features were the big mystery, Hibbard said, because they looked like they were made by ice flow, but the terrain wasn't steep enough to explain why the ice would be moving.

"We had to try to figure out what the heck are they, why do they have the thermal signatures that they have, why are they so bright in both day and night, why do they appear to have flow features, why are they channelized, why do they occur near lobate debris aprons?" she said.

Related: Photo tour of Jezero Crater: Here's where Perseverance landed on Mars

The analysis suggested that these features were, in fact, glacial in origin. The sinuous shapes looked similar to other features associated with slow-flowing material seen on Mars, Hibbard said, and the data suggested that these spots were indeed rich in ice.

What the sinuous features look most like, Hibbard said, is ice streams within ice sheets on Earth, which occur primarily in Antarctica. These faster-moving flows of ice aren't well understood on Earth, Hibbard said, much less Mars, but they do show an example of ice flowing in fairly flat terrain.

This is a controversial claim, Hibbard said, because most ice streams on Earth require at least a thin layer of liquid water at their base to lubricate their flow. It's not clear whether subglacial water exists or ever existed on Mars, she said, nor is it clear whether a wet base would be required to cause ice streams to flow on the Red Planet. One possibility is that in the past, when Mars' orbit was tilted differently than it is today and its climate was different, subglacial melt could have occurred.

"Ice streams are something that might be on Mars and might suggest more complex glacial processes have taken place on Mars, which I think is really interesting," Hibbard said.

Related content

10 Interesting places in the solar system we'd like to visitVoyager to Mars rover: NASA's 10 greatest innovationsSpace oddity: 10 bizarre things Earthlings launched into space

The next step, she said, is to investigate the terrain surrounding these sinuous features for more clues. Arcadia Planitia has never been studied except from orbit, but it might be an exciting place to send future Mars missions, she added.

"It would be an interesting place to land not only for the accessibility of water ice and abundance of water ice, but also for the scientific value," Hibbard said.

The research appears in the May issue of the journal Icarus.

Originally published on Live Science.

Sign up for the Live Science daily newsletter now

Get the world’s most fascinating discoveries delivered straight to your inbox.

Contact me with news and offers from other Future brandsReceive email from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsorsBy submitting your information you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and are aged 16 or over.


This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.