Graben Cutting Lava Flow in Tharsis
Graben Cutting Lava Flow in Tharsis
ESP_019747_1975  Science Theme: Tectonic Processes
This image shows a graben (a trough formed when the ground drops between two parallel faults) and a lava flow in the Tharsis volcanic province of Mars.

Relations like this can be used to establish the relative ages of features on the surface. In this case, the trough cuts the lava flow, indicating that it is younger. If the trough existed when the flow occurred, lava would have spilled into and flooded it before the flow was able to proceed to the North.

Another interesting feature in this lava flow is the trace of a central channel, indicated by two roughly parallel linear features within the flow. After the first lava flowed across this area, the rest of the flow was probably concentrated in this inner channel (most easily seen in the browse image). The channel was still full of lava when the flow stopped, and so the surface is still at the same height as the rest of the flow.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (1 December 2010)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_019681_1975.
Acquisition date
13 October 2010

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
275.6 km (171.3 miles)

Original image scale range
28.1 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~84 cm across are resolved

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25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Solar incidence angle
54°, with the Sun about 36° above the horizon

Solar longitude
163.2°, Northern Summer

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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. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.