Cones and Ridges in Utopia Planitia
Cones and Ridges in Utopia Planitia
PSP_003494_2075  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This image shows cratered cones in Utopia Planitia. Cones with summit craters join together in places to form ridges up to several kilometers long, with troughs running along the summit. In many of these cases it is evident that the ridge systems formed by merging of multiple cones, since the arcs of individual cones can be distinguished.

These features are probably formed by eruption of subsurface material-mud or lava. Lava can form cinder or spatter cones, and eruptions from localized sources along a fissure could produce the ridges. The absence of obvious lava flows near the cones may argue against this mechanism, but ascending lava could have interacted with subsurface water or ice, leading to a more explosive eruption. An alternative is eruptions of pressurized mud from depth (mud volcanism), a process which occurs in certain environments on Earth.

This observation has a few minor gaps where transmission errors caused data to be lost. These appear as narrow black bars.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (22 August 2007)
Acquisition date
25 April 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
287.8 km (178.9 miles)

Original image scale range
28.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~86 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
67°, with the Sun about 23° above the horizon

Solar longitude
225.9°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  329.4°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

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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.