Alluvial Fans in Mojave Crater, as seen by HiRISE. High ground is on the right. Branched network of channels runs from higher ground (crater rim) to lower ground.
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Mojave Crater, in the Xanthe Terra region, has alluvial fans that look remarkably similar to landforms in the Mojave Desert in the American southwest. Fans inside and around the outsides of Mojave crater on Mars are a perfect match to Earth's alluvial fans. As on Earth, the largest rocks are near the mouths of the fans. Because channels start at the top of ridges, it is believed they were formed by heavy downpours. Researchers have suggested that rain may have initiated by impacts.
Mojave Crater is approximately 2,604 meters (1.63 miles) deep. Based on its diameter and depth, researchers believe it is very young. It has not been around long enough to accumulate material and start to fill. It is giving scientists great insight into impact processes on Mars since it is so fresh.