A Lava-Filled Crater in Elysium Planitia
NASA/JPL/UArizona
A Lava-Filled Crater in Elysium Planitia
PSP_008753_1880  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
Elysium Planitia is a part of the Martian lowlands that has been repeatedly covered by vast floods of lava. This image shows an older impact crater that has been filled by one of the youngest of those lava floods.

Only sections of the circular rim of the crater remain uncovered. The lava surface consists of ridged plates that have rafted apart with smoother lava filling between the plates. The ridges formed as the solidifying lava crust was crumpled by compression, and the gaps between the plates formed as the crust was pulled apart. Similar compression and extension of lava crust has been observed in the largest lava flows in Iceland.

The most puzzling aspect of this image is that the lava in the floor of the crater appears to have sunk down compared to its surroundings. This happened after a thick crust had formed on the lava. The most likely explanation is that the last molten lava inside the flow drained away through a now buried gap in the crater rim.

A final point of interest are the small circular cones visible near the center of the crater. These formed when ground water (or ice) was turned to steam by the heat of the lava flow. This steam exploded through the flow, producing the small cratered cones.

Written by: Laszlo Kestay  (23 July 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_009610_1880.
 
Acquisition date
08 June 2008

Local Mars time
15:20

Latitude (centered)
7.921°

Longitude (East)
148.542°

Spacecraft altitude
276.6 km (171.9 miles)

Original image scale range
56.3 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~169 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle
10.8°

Phase angle
41.8°

Solar incidence angle
51°, with the Sun about 39° above the horizon

Solar longitude
82.7°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  32.4°
JPEG
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

JP2
Black and white
map-projected   (477MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (230MB)

JP2 EXTRAS
Black and white
map-projected  (227MB)
non-map           (267MB)

IRB color
map projected  (107MB)
non-map           (217MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (492MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (464MB)

RGB color
non map           (208MB)
ANAGLYPHS
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

DIGITAL TERRAIN MODEL (DTM)
DTM details page

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products
HiView

NB
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

USAGE POLICY
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/JPL/University of Arizona

POSTSCRIPT
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.