Large Fresh Crater Near Marte Vallis

This image is cited in a February 2009 paper, “Discovery of Columnar Jointing on Mars.”


We report on the discovery of columnar jointing in Marte Valles, Mars. These columnar lavas were discovered in the wall of a pristine, 16-km-diameter impact crater and exhibit the features of terrestrial columnar basalts. There are discontinuous outcrops along the entire crater wall, suggesting that the columnar rocks covered a surface area of at least 200 sq. km, assuming that the rocks obliterated
by the impact event were similarly jointed. We also see columns in the walls of other fresh craters in the nearby volcanic plains of Elysium Planitia–Amazonis Planitia, which include Marte Vallis, and in a well-preserved crater in northeast Hellas.

Full article in Geology

Other HiRISE team papers are available here. (11 February 2009)

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Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona