Lava Coating, Flood-Carved Kasei Valles
Lava Coating, Flood-Carved Kasei Valles
ESP_024202_2010  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes
This HiRISE image covers a small part of the gigantic 1780 kilometer (1100 mile long) set of flood-carved channels on Mars called Kasei Valles. The focus of this image is a much narrower channel that was cut into the floor of the large channel system.

It is interesting to compare this lava coated channel to a similar feature called Athabasca Valles. Both channels appear to have been cut by a flood of some fluid, and then coated with a thin layer of lava. In the case of Athabasca Valles, the fluid that carved the channel and the lava came out of the same fissure in the ground. Every channel is completely coated with lava, allowing the possibility that Athabasca Valles was carved by lava.

However, at Kasei Valles, the lava and the flood carving fluid came from two different places. The valleys were carved by floods, presumably of very muddy water, released from Echus Chasma. The lava in Kasei Valles only coats the lowermost part of the huge valleys and comes from a source between the huge Tharsis volcanoes.

As HiRISE collects more images, we are able to expand our understanding of Mars by comparing and contrasting key features.

Written by: Lazlo Kestay  (9 November 2011)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_024703_2010.
Acquisition date
25 September 2011

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
281.8 km (175.1 miles)

Original image scale range
28.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~85 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
38°, with the Sun about 52° above the horizon

Solar longitude
5.8°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  340.9°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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’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.