Volcanic Vent East of Pavonis Mons
Volcanic Vent East of Pavonis Mons
PSP_006653_1795  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This image shows an equatorial volcanic vent. A volcanic vent is an opening in the crust of a planet that emits lava (molten rock) and volcanic gases. The rough texture of the plains surrounding the vent is indicative of lava.

There is a large number of snake-like features emanating from the vent. The parallel lines that outline the features are levees, which mark the edges of channels that carried molten lava. As lava flows, it moves slowest at its edges and bottom because the lava sticks to the non-flowing rocks, and as the lava slows, it cools off and hardens.

Levees form when the sides harden but the center of the flow keeps moving. As the eruption episode ends, and the lava drains, the center is left lower than the sides producing these high-standing structures.

Written by: Kelly Kolb  (27 February 2008)
Acquisition date
27 December 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
258.6 km (160.7 miles)

Original image scale range
25.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~78 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
37°, with the Sun about 53° above the horizon

Solar longitude
9.0°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  12.2°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.