• MAA-044: Keyhole-Shaped Feature

- Image Analysis Report


Image Analysis Report


MAA Report Ref: MAA-044

Report date: October 2020

Research Status: Open - Possible artificial structure

Description: Keyhole-Shaped Feature
Approximate size: 2.5 km

Mission: HiRISE/MRO
Location: Libya Montes region, Latitude 6.042°, Longitude (East) 92.076°

Identified by: George J. Haas, Greg Orme

Image date: Jan 2011
Image credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Graphics/image editing: Mars Archaeology Archive

Original research source: George J. Haas, Cydonia Institute

Science paper: A Wedge and Dome Formation Set within the Flat Plains of Libya Montes

NASA Image sources:

Original NASA image source page: https://www.uahirise.org/ESP_020794_1860

Direct image link (JPEG): https://hirise-pds.lpl.arizona.edu/PDS/EXTRAS/RDR/ESP/ORB_020700_020799/ESP_020794_1860/ESP_020794_1860_RED.browse.jpg


With a distinctive wedge shape that resembles both a 'keyhole' and an 'exclamation mark', this feature  raises the same question as most of the others do that are potential ancient monuments or buildings, rather than geological oddities: What will an artificial structure look like on Mars after possibly many thousands of years, or a million years, of erosion?

That this object displays clear symmetry is obvious, but if it is a building, is the surface area and its edges so weather-worn that it is bound to look like a geological feature after such a long time?

Whatever the case, when a unique, symmetrical shape exists in the middle of a largely empty area devoid of anything similar, it must provoke rational speculation.

Of course, rationally, we must accept the probability that it is just a random geological freak of nature. But also, we cannot ignore the possibility that this object might also signify that Mars was once host to an ancient civilization a very long time ago and that this is a remnant structure from that time. Not to consider this possibility, would in itself, be irrational.


1. Unique isolated feature situated in landscape with no similar features for about 20 km in all directions 2. Displays a high degree of symmetry with very defined edges 3. Bears remarkable similarity to keyhole-shaped Japanese mound tombs ("Kofun") from 400-700 AD.


Geological feature that was either "lifted up by faulting, or that the surrounding terrain has been eroded down over billions of years, or indeed both" (Dr. Alfred McEwen, professor of planetary geology at the University of Arizona).

MAA-044.1 - Could this be an "Ancient Tomb on Mars?" - Comparison of Martian feature and Japanese mound tomb.

MAA-043.1 - "Rusted Rebar" - MAA public post.

MAA-044.2 - "keyhole-Shaped Feature" - HiRISE/MRO

MAA-044.3 - Keyhole-Shaped Mound Tombs ("Kofun") from Japan 400-700 AD.