A “what the heck?!” mesa in the southern polar regions of Mars

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Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on July 28, 2022 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows what the scientists label a “Circular and Banded Landform.”

I put this mesa into a geological category I dub “What the heck?!” We are clearly looking at a mesa, probably no more than 200 feet high, if that. What makes it baffling are the parallel bands that not only cut across the mesa but extend in the same direction for many miles in all directions. Though at first glance these bands appear to be dunes, their rocky eroded look along the mesa’s northwest rim suggests instead the bands are the top edge of many vertically oriented parallel layers, which at this mesa’s flanks are eroding alternatively at different rates.

The overview map below shows us where this mesa is located, relative to the south pole.
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