'Bread Loaf' Mesa East of Phlegra Montes

Scaled Image

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

About this image

An isolated mesa east of the Phlegra Montes in northeastern Elysium Planitia has a cracked surface that, combined with its overall shape, gives the appearance of a giant loaf of bread. Other mesas with similar surfaces are found in the area, suggesting that at one time these mesas were part of a continuous layer of material. It is likely that at that time, some process caused the graben-like cracks to form. Later erosion of the cracked layer left only the isolated mesas seen in the THEMIS image. One clue that supports this scenario is the presence of many filled and eroded craters throughout the scene but no fresh ones. One way to produce this landscape begins with an ancient and heavily cratered surface that subsequently is buried by some other material. If this overburden was stripped off relatively recently, not enough time would have passed to allow for a new population of fresh craters to be produced. The result would be a landscape with isolated mesas of younger material on top of an ancient, cratered surface. Also present near the mesas are small sand ripples forming in the material still being eroded from the mesas.

Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images. 


Image ID: 
V03065003 (View data in Mars Image Explorer)
2002-08-23 15:13
Tue, 2002-09-24
1024 pixels (19 km)
3648 pixels (69 km)
0.019129 km/pixel
0.019268 km/pixel


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