Elysium Planitia


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Elysium Planitia

(i-liz -ee-ŭm) Mars' second main center of volcanic activity, located on a bulge in the Martian crust about 3 km high and 5312 km in diameter, situated on the planet's equator. It is centered on the areograohic coordinates 2° N latitude, 205° W longitude (see areography). Its principal volcano is Elysium Mons (25° N latitude, 213.1° W longitude), which is 250 km in base diameter and 15 km high. See Mars, volcanoes. In Feb, 2005, scientists examining images of Elysium Planitia taken by the European spacecraft Mars Express noted some that showed plated and rutted features over an extensive area measuring 800 by 900 km. The platelike fractures resemble ice floes seen in Earth's polar regions, leading the scientists to believe that a catastrophic event flooded the area about five million years ago forming a sea that then froze and became covered with dust and volcanic ash. They think it now survives as pack ice just below the Martian surface.