In the latest images released by the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission, pit-chains can be seen in the Tractus Catena region on the flanks of the Alba Mons, one of the largest volcanoes in the solar system.
While pit-chains can have volcanic or tectonic origins, they can also be the result of action involving subterranean groundwater, as similar features on Earth have proven, a release from ESA headquarters in Paris said Tuesday.
Among the Earth's most famous examples are the network of "cenotes" on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, deep natural pits formed when the surface limestone rocks collapsed, exposing the groundwater underneath.
A possible similar origin of the martian pits suggests if any any cave-like structures are associated with the pits, microorganisms could have survived in them protected from the harsh surface environment, researchers said.
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