Abstract

We report on the discovery of columnar jointing in Marte Valles, Mars. These columnar lavas were discovered in the wall of a pristine, 16-km-diameter impact crater and exhibit the features of terrestrial columnar basalts. There are discontinuous outcrops along the entire crater wall, suggesting that the columnar rocks covered a surface area of at least 200 km2, assuming that the rocks obliterated by the impact event were similarly jointed. We also see columns in the walls of other fresh craters in the nearby volcanic plains of Elysium Planitia–Amazonis Planitia, which include Marte Vallis, and in a well-preserved crater in northeast Hellas.

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