Lava-Carved Gullies in a Crater
Lava-Carved Gullies in a Crater
ESP_028321_1785  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This image shows an impact crater about 3-kilometer (1.8 miles) wide in a region that has been flooded by lava.

The lava has overtopped the rim in at least two areas, to the southwest and northwest, and created a pond of lava on the crater floor. Where it flowed down the steep crater slope it carved gullies. There are similar gullies on steep crater slopes on the Moon, but probably carved by impact melt rather than lava. Dark streaks seen elsewhere on the crater slopes are from dust avalanches.

On the plains outside the crater there are distinctive landforms that form from lava inflation, where molten lava is injected under a solid crust to raise the surface. Only lava behaves in this manner, not mud or other fluids that might have been present on Mars.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (audio by Tre Gibbs)  (14 November 2012)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_037749_1785.
Acquisition date
11 August 2012

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
269.8 km (167.7 miles)

Original image scale range
27.0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~81 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
153.3°, Northern Summer

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  19.7°
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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.