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Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on August 9, 2020 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and was featured today as this camera’s picture of the day. As today’s caption notes:
This observation focuses a ridge that is standing above the old lava surface of the floor of Echus Chasma. What is this ridge doing here? Is it preexisting material surrounded by lava? Is it material pushed up at a restraining bend? If the ridge is not lava, it may have colorful flanks.
The overview map below shows that this location in Echus Chasma is even more interesting, as some scientists believe it once also held a large lake.
The small white dot near the southern terminus of Echus Chasma marks the location of this ridge. The blue area in the Chasma is the theorized lake, held in by an ice dam (the white line). The black areas to the north mark a specific lava event the length of the Columbia River that came from Tharsis Thous and covered Kasei Valles in only a matter of weeks.
This image suggests that the southern parts of Kasei Valles, in Echus, also had their own flood lava events, events so extensive that the lava covered many surface features. The ridge thus could be the top of a much higher mountain that is now mostly hidden below the lava. It is also possible it is a lava extrusion pushed through a fissure.
Whether these volcanic events occurred before, during, or after the hypothesized lake is not known.
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