Lava Flow Margin: Daedalia Planum
Lava Flow Margin: Daedalia Planum
PSP_008869_1615  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This observation shows the details of the distal end of a lava flow that likely started at the flank of Arsia Mons, several hundred kilometers away. Lava flows are abundant in the region south and west of Arsia Mons and most of them appear like runny wax, especially in images that cover large areas at low resolutions.

But this HiRISE image shows that while many features of lava flows occur on the older lava flows, the surfaces have also been smoothed over in many places by mobile, fine-grained materials. Later flows like that in the top third of this image appear much rougher. Up close, even younger lava flows have their share of mantling materials deposited on their surfaces.

This image also shows how lava flows advanced by sprouting small fingers and toes of lava along their margins. These in turn become the pathways for more lavas and eventual accumulations that spread over these toes and fingers. Most of the surface of the lava flow appears to be a complex in some places, and in others, patterned ridges formed during complex jostling of the brittle and solid crust that formed on the lava flow even as it was still moving.

In the southern half of this image there are several areas of aligned pits and channels. These are probably the expressions of collapsed lava tubes that originally fed these earlier lava flows. So even older lava flows still preserve details of how lava flows are emplaced during eruptions.

Written by: L. Crumpler  (23 July 2008)
Acquisition date
17 June 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
256.2 km (159.2 miles)

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

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

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Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
66°, with the Sun about 24° above the horizon

Solar longitude
86.6°, Northern Spring

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  46.1°
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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.