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Fields of small cratered cones on Mars are interpreted to have formed by rootless eruptions due to explosive interaction of lava with ground ice contained within the regolith beneath the flow. Melting and vaporization of the ice, and subsequent explosive expansion of the vapour, act to excavate the lava and construct a rootless cone around the explosion site. Similar features are found in Iceland, where flowing lavas encountered water-saturated substrates. The martian cones have basal diameters of c. 30–1000m and are located predominantly in the northern volcanic plains. High-resolution Mars Orbiter Camera images offer significant improvements over Viking...

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