Science and Exploration

Candidate Mud Volcanoes In Utopia Planitia On Mars

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
April 4, 2023
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Candidate Mud Volcanoes In Utopia Planitia On Mars
Candidate Mud Volcanoes In Utopia Planitia

Utopia Planitia, a vast plain in the Northern Hemisphere of Mars, has an interesting and complex history. One of the intriguing features is a field of mounds showing circular depressions at their summits.

The fact that many of these “craters” are on top of mounds argues against them being craters created by impacts, as is common on Mars and other planetary bodies across the solar system.

There are many processes that can form such landforms, most notably hot lava. However, mud ejected from beneath the surface (through different geologic mechanisms) could also be a possibility.

Being able to better understand how these features formed (aided by HiRISE stereo images) is crucial to our understanding of the geologic history of the region.

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SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.