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.
The map is projected here at a scale of 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) per pixel. (The original image scale is 30.4 centimeters [12.0 inches] per pixel [with 1 x 1 binning]; objects on the order of 91 centimeters [35.8 inches] across are resolved.) North is up.
This is a stereo pair with ESP_076891_2050.
The University of Arizona, in Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.