It doesn’t take much thought to understand why this landscape on Mars is called “brain terrain” — the swirling lobes of ice, part of a large glacial deposit in Mars’ northern hemisphere, uncannily resemble the texture of a brain — or at the very least a brain coral!
What causes this strange landscape? Find out below:
It’s suggested that brain terrain is the result of the thermal stress and contraction, followed by sublimation, of these large ice deposits, laid down during a mid-latitude glaciation period ten to 100 million years ago. (Read more in this 2009 paper by Brown University’s Joseph Levy et al.)
This image was obtained by the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance orbiter on August 23, 2013. See the original RGB color scan here.