PIA20003: A Cone Shaped Hill
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
 Spacecraft:  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
 Instrument:  HiRISE
 Product Size:  2880 x 1800 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  University of Arizona/HiRISE-LPL
Other products from ESP_042195_2035
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA20003.tif (14.25 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA20003.jpg (766.5 kB)

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There are many hills and knobs on Mars that reveal aspects of the local geologic history.

Typically, the hills in the relatively-smooth region surrounding this image are flat topped erosional remnants or mesas with irregular or even polyhedral margins. These landforms suggest wide spread erosion of the soft or weakly-cemented sedimentary layers.

This hill stands out because of is circular inverted-cone shape and apparent dark streaks along its flanks visible in lower resolution images. Close inspection from HiRISE reveals that the fine soils sloping down from the peak are intersected with radiating lines of rock and eroding rubble.

This formation is similar to lava intrusions that form in the core of a volcano. As lava is squeezed up into a central conduit, radiating fractures fill with lava forming rock units called dikes. As the lava cools inside the ground and in the fractures, it forms into a harder rock that is more resistant to erosion. Later, as the surrounding sediments and soils erode, the resistant volcanic rock remains standing to tell a story of what happened underground long ago.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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