Crater Central Peak
Crater Central Peak
PSP_004242_1495  Science Theme: Composition and Photometry
This observation shows a central peak of a large, degraded impact crater in the Terra Sirenum region of the Southern hemisphere. Central peaks form during crater formation when a particularly large impactor hits the surface.

The central peak visible here (about 2/3 of the way down the full image) is interesting because it has some fluvial-like features on its south side. At lower resolution, these features appear to be channels with some connecting pits. At higher resolution (see subimage), the features appear to be troughs that are filled with dunes.

What is most interesting is the chain of pits that extends down the center of some of the troughs as seen in the subimage. It is possible that these pits are evidence of subsurface piping or hydrothermal activity. Piping occurs when subsurface water flows through soil, takes some soil with it, and causes the overlying ground to collapse. These fluvial-like features and the connected pits may have formed during a late stage of crater formation when temperatures were suitable for liquid water.

Written by: Kelly Kolb  (15 August 2007)
Acquisition date
22 June 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
254.6 km (158.2 miles)

Original image scale range
from 25.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) to 51.2 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning)

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
40°, with the Sun about 50° above the horizon

Solar longitude
262.8°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  1.0°
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   (915MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (588MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (412MB)
non-map           (349MB)

IRB color
map projected  (218MB)
non-map           (516MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (268MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (254MB)

RGB color
non map           (520MB)
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.