Channels from Hale Crater
Channels from Hale Crater
PSP_005609_1470  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes
Channels associated with impact craters were once thought to be quite rare. Scientists proposed a variety of unusual circumstances to explain them, such as impacts by comets or precipitation caused by the impact event. As more of Mars is photographed with high-resolution imagery, more craters surrounded by channel systems are being discovered.

The channels in this HiRISE image are from Hale Crater, an exceptionally well-preserved 125 x 150 kilometer impact crater located on the northern rim of the Argyre Basin. Hale Crater is roughly 170 kilometers to the southeast.

The channels in this subimage are up to about 250 meters across, though most are much smaller. The channels appear to emanate directly from Hale’s ejecta, and were likely formed by the impact event. The heat of the impact could have melted large amounts of subsurface ice, and generated surface runoff capable of carving the channels.

If a significant amount of water was released or mobilized by the formation of the Hale Crater impact, larger impacts that formed during the early days of the Solar System may have been able to bring even more water to the surface of Mars. If this is true, a long-term, stable, warm and wet climate may not be required to explain the presence of such channels in the ancient Martian landscapes.

Written by: Andrea Philippoff Jones  (28 October 2009)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_005754_1470.
Acquisition date
07 October 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
253.5 km (157.6 miles)

Original image scale range
51.4 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~154 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 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
326.7°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  28.7°
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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.