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Tartarus Colles

Range of hills on Mars

Tartarus was the traditional name for an albedo formation in the northern hemisphere of Mars, lying eastward of the three volcanoes that dominate Elysium Planitia. That traditional name is now given, among related features, to a field of colles, small rounded hills that stand out from the Martian plains as they descend from the heights of Elysium into the lowlands of Amazonis Planitia.

To the southwest of the field of colles is a mountainous ridge, Tartarus Montes, from whose northern end the Tartarus Colles extend outwards across a wide range (the entire field of hills includes tens of thousands of structures covering a region more than 1,600 km in diameter).

Each individual collis is a small rounded hill of a kind that is common on Mars, and also on some other planets and moons (colles are also found on Venus, and less commonly on Saturn's moon Titan). The origins of structures like these are not fully understood, but they are thought to form though the actions of water or ice on a field of lava. In the case of Tartarus Colles, the range of large volcanoes nearby to the west seem likely to have played a part in their creation.


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