Caves and Craters
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Caves and Craters
ESP_023531_1840  Science Theme: Impact Processes
EspañolPortuguêsItalianoGreek



WALLPAPER

800  1024  
1152  1280  
1440  1600  
1920  2048  
2560  

HIFLYER

PDF, 11 x 17 in  

HISLIDES

PowerPoint  
Keynote  
PDF  
Earlier this year (2011), the CTX camera team saw a crater containing a dark spot on the dusty slopes of the Pavonis Mons volcano. We took a closer look at this feature with HiRISE and found this unusual geologic feature.

The dark spot turned out to be a “skylight,” an opening to an underground cavern, that is 35 meters (115 feet) across. Caves often form in volcanic regions like this when lava flows solidify on top, but keep flowing underneath their solid crust. These, now underground, rivers of lava can then drain away leaving the tube they flowed through empty. We can use the shadow cast on the floor of the pit to calculate that it is about 20 meters (65 feet) deep.

The origin of the larger hole that this pit is within is still obscure. You can see areas where material on the walls has slid into the pit. How much of the missing material has disappeared via the pit into the underground cavern?

UPDATE: March 2014
From a second observation, creating a stereo pair, we now know the topography much better. From the characteristic angles of the slopes, it looks like loose granular material has drained into a cave (probably a lava tube in an area like this).

This is a conical collapse pit (approximately 50 meters or 165 feet deep) implies a conical pile of debris of equal height sitting in the cave and the top of this pile is (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) below the rim of the hole. So this is a pretty enormous cave.: approximately 80 meters or 265 feet from floor to ceiling!

Written by: Shane Byrne   (17 August 2011)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_023953_1840.



 Image Products: All image links are drag & drop for HiView, or click to download
JPEG
Grayscale: map projected  non-map
IRB color: map projected  non-map
Merged IRB: map projected
Merged RGB: map projected
RGB color: non-map projected

JP2 DOWNLOAD
Grayscale: map-projected (219.4 MB)
IRB color: map-projected (103.3 MB)

JP2 EXTRAS
Grayscale: map-projected  (104.3 MB),
non-map  (117.6 MB)
IRB color: map projected  (25.0 MB)
non-map  (90.0 MB)
Merged IRB: map projected  (67.3 MB)
Merged RGB: map-projected  (64.6 MB)
RGB color: non map-projected  (87.1 MB)

ANAGLYPHS
Map-projected reduced-resolution (PNG)
Full resolution JP2 download
View anaglyph details page

ADDITIONAL IMAGE INFORMATION
Grayscale label   Color label
Merged IRB label   Merged RGB label
EDR products

About color products (PDF)
HiView main page

 Observation Toolbox
Acquisition date:04 August 2011 Local Mars time: 2:08 PM
Latitude (centered):3.735° Longitude (East):248.485°
Range to target site:263.0 km (164.4 miles)Original image scale range:26.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~79 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:4.1° Phase angle:30.4°
Solar incidence angle:34°, with the Sun about 56° above the horizon Solar longitude:339.1°, Northern Winter
For non-map projected products:
North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:343.9°
For map-projected products
North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:158.6°

Context map

Usage Policy
All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible: Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Postscript
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.