New View of Dark Pit on Arsia Mons
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
New View of Dark Pit on Arsia Mons
PSP_004847_1745  Science Theme: Tectonic Processes


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Dark pits on some of the Martian volcanoes have been speculated to be entrances into caves. A previous HiRISE image, looking essentially straight down, saw only darkness in this pit.

This time the pit was imaged from the west. Since the picture was taken at about 2:30 p.m. local (Mars) time, the sun was also shining from the west. We can now see the eastern wall of the pit catching the sunlight.

This confirms that this pit is essentially a vertical shaft cut through the lava flows on the flank of the volcano. Such pits form on similar volcanoes in Hawaii and are called "pit craters." They generally do not connect to long open caverns but are the result of deep underground collapse. From the shadow of the rim cast onto the wall of the pit we can calculate that the pit is at least 178 meters (584 feet) deep. The pit is 150 x 157 meters (492 x 515 feet) across. Written by: Laszlo P. Keszthelyi   (5 September 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_003647_1745.

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Acquisition date
09 August 2007

Local Mars time:
14:34

Latitude (centered)
-5.541°

Longitude (East)
241.398°

Range to target site
263.4 km (164.6 miles)

Original image scale range
26.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~79 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle:
17.7°

Phase angle:
25.5°

Solar incidence angle
41°, with the Sun about 49° above the horizon

Solar longitude
292.1°, Northern Winter

North azimuth:
97°

Sub-solar azimuth:
335.2°
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IRB: infrared-red-blue
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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:
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.