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Lava 'Leaps Out' in 3-D!
Full Res JPG (4.65 MB)
Dazzled by the beauty of the strange features in the Athabasca Valles channel system on Mars, geologist Windy Jaeger pondered their origin. In a new paper, she concludes that lava filled the channel system to the brim and then drained away leaving a thin coating of hard lava rock to preserve the underlying landscape. Other unique features indicating that massive lava flows once filled the channels are hydrovolcanic cones that formed when water met lava and boiled explosively, leaving behind small, conical and ring-shaped features visible in and around the dune field (upper left).

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