Mojave (crater)

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Mojave (crater)
Mojave (Martian crater).jpg
THEMIS daytime infrared image mosaic showing Mojave (center) and its surroundings. The outflow channel Tiu Valles snakes through the image south-north to the right of Mojave.
Planet Mars
Coordinates 7°30′N 33°00′W / 7.5°N 33.0°W / 7.5; -33.0Coordinates: 7°30′N 33°00′W / 7.5°N 33.0°W / 7.5; -33.0
Eponym Mojave, California, USA

Mojave is an impact crater in the Oxia Palus quadrangle of Mars located at 7.5° N and 33.0° W. It is 58 km in diameter. It was named after a town in California, USA.[1]

Located in the Xanthe Terra region, Mojave has alluvial fans that look remarkably similar to landforms in the Mojave Desert in the American southwest. Fans inside and around the outsides of the crater are closely similar to Earth's alluvial fans. As on Earth, the largest rocks are near the mouths of the fans. Because the channels start at ridge tops, it is believed they were formed by heavy downpours. Researchers have suggested that the rain may have been initiated by impacts.[2]

The depth of Mojave is approximately 2,600 meters (1.63 miles). Based on its ratio of depth to diameter, researchers believe it is very young. It is not old enough to have accumulated much material and start to fill. Its relatively undegraded state helps scientists model impact processes on Mars.[3]

Mojave is a rayed crater, another indication of its youth, and is the largest such crater on Mars. Based on crater counts of its ejecta blanket, it is thought to be about 3 million years old. It is believed to be the most recent crater of its size on Mars, and has been identified as the probable source of the shergottite meteorites collected on Earth.[4] However, the latter hypothesis is controversial.[5]

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