Image: NASA
Read a wrinkled skin with small curls? The high-resolution images of the Martian landscape Athabasca Valles are reminiscent of this. The valleys were formed by hot lava flows. The landscape near the Martian equator is known for a long time. But so far astronomers were not in agreement whether they were formed by ice or lava flows. High-resolution images of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) now suggest that volcanic activity is behind the mesh of polygons.

Andrew Ryan and Philip Christensen of the University of Arizona at Tempe see the snail-like structures up to 30 meters wide. Because such forms are also found in Hawaii, where they are caused by extremely hot lava flows.

Andrew Ryan and Philip Christensen (University of Arizona, Tempe): Science, doi: 10.1126 / science.1219437 © Marion Martin


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