Volcanic Fissure Vent in Elysium Planitia
Volcanic Fissure Vent in Elysium Planitia
PSP_010269_1900  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This observation shows lava-covered plains in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars, located near the equator.

Two distinct lavas are visible in this image. The darker lava to the north (top) is the edge of the youngest major lava flow on Mars; it was fed by a voluminous eruption that coursed through the Athabasca Valles channel system.

The lighter-toned lava that covers the remainder of this image is older and dustier. It has a striped appearance due to slender dunes or ripples composed of windblown materials that are oriented northwest-southeast.

The most prominent feature in this image is the discontinuous line of pits and troughs that cuts across its center. It is an ancient volcanic fissure vent. Lava once erupted through this fracture onto the surface. The irregular depressions around the troughs may either be due to near-vent erosion by the lava or to the ponding and drain-back of the lava around the vent.

Written by: Windy Jaeger  (26 November 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_010414_1900.
Acquisition date
04 October 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
277.3 km (172.3 miles)

Original image scale range
27.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~83 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
136.8°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  19.2°
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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.