Geophysical Research Letters

Rootless cones on Mars indicating the presence of shallow equatorial ground ice in recent times



High resolution Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images have revealed the existence of clusters of small cones in the Cerberus plains, Marte Valles, and Amazonis Planitia, Mars. These cones are similar in both morphology and planar dimensions to the larger of Icelandic rootless cones, which form due to explosive interactions between surficial lavas and near-surface groundwater. Impact crater size-frequency relationships indicate that surfaces upon which the cones sit are no older than 10 Ma. If martian cones form in the same manner as terrestrial rootless cones, then equatorial ground ice or ground water must have been present near the surface in geologically recent times.