A 2005 photo of Elysium Planitia by the Mars Express spacecraft, the Mars Express Orbiter, shows what may be ash-covered water ice. The volume of ice is estimated to be 497 by 559 miles (800 by 900 Km) in size and 148 feet (45 meters) deep, similar in size and depth to the North Sea of Earth. The ice is thought to be the remains of water floods and lava flows in the Cerberus Fossae fisures about 2 to 10 million years ago. The surface of the area is broken into 'plates' like broken ice floating on a lake. Impact crater counts show that the plates are up to 1 million years older than the gap material, showing that the area solidified much too slowly for the material to be basaltic lava.
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