Streamlined Landforms near the Cerberus Fossae
Streamlined Landforms near the Cerberus Fossae
ESP_026580_1940  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
One of the earliest observations of Mars that indicated that water once flowed across its surface was the presence of large streamlined landforms. Such landforms are carved by flowing fluids that erode islands into teardrop shapes.

While wind can also produce streamlined landforms (called yardangs), many features on Mars were clearly produced by a liquid that was confined to the low areas inside channels. There is an ongoing debate about the roles of lava and water in carving these features.

Streamlined forms visible inside channels on the Moon and Mercury must have been carved by lava since there is no plausible way water could have flowed over those bodies. On Mars, the HiRISE team is seeing a pattern where we believe most channels were carved by water but then covered with lava.

Observations like this one help us test the idea that the lava is simply coating a water-carved surface.

Written by: Laszlo Kestay  (16 May 2012)
Acquisition date
28 March 2012

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
279.4 km (173.6 miles)

Original image scale range
55.9 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~168 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
46°, with the Sun about 44° above the horizon

Solar longitude
89.3°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  28.1°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (201MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (105MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (99MB)
non-map           (104MB)

IRB color
map projected  (40MB)
non-map           (108MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (190MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (190MB)

RGB color
non map           (101MB)
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

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.