Oxus Patera Collapse Feature
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Oxus Patera Collapse Feature
ESP_034656_2195  Science Theme: Landscape Evolution


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Oxus Patera is an ancient, eroded depression in northern Arabia Terra. It is not known how Oxus Patera formed, though it has been suggested that the feature represents an ancient caldera formed through collapse and explosive volcanism.

Other possibilities include formation by impact and erosion, or collapse due to removal of subsurface volatiles. Regardless of how the massive depression originally formed, there is little doubt that the feature has been modified by younger ice-related processes.

This image shows an unusual landform on the floor of Oxus Patera. Notice an irregular, scalloped contact trending diagonally from southwest to northeast near the center of the image. The terrain in the upper left is likely composed of fine-grained, weakly consolidated materials because it does not form many topographic features within the unit (few mesas, buttes, mountains, etc.). Where it is eroded, it does not form boulders: it appears to be an easily crumbled, blanketing deposit. The terrain in the lower right is very unusual. It contains smooth surfaces marked by small, irregularly shaped cones and fractures that are bounded by upturned ridges. The boundary between the two terrains consists of scalloped fractures that appear to have formed where the terrain in the lower right has detached from the terrain in the upper left, and partially collapsed.

Written by: Joe Michalski (audio by Tre Gibbs)   (22 January 2014)

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Acquisition date
17 December 2013

Local Mars time:

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Range to target site
299.9 km (187.4 miles)

Original image scale range
60.0 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~180 cm across are resolved

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50 cm/pixel and North is up

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Phase angle:

Solar incidence angle
42°, with the Sun about 48° above the horizon

Solar longitude
64.1°, Northern Spring

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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.