Small Shield Volcano in East Tharsis region
Small Shield Volcano in East Tharsis region
PSP_010569_1720  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This image shows a small shield volcano in the Eastern Tharsis region of Mars. The Tharsis region is located on the Martian equator and contains some of the solar system's largest volcanoes.

The oval shaped depression in the center of the image is the summit pit of the volcano. Emanating from the summit crater, is a raised, leveed lava channel that branches downhill. Lava channels are narrow pathways through which lava flows on the volcano surface. The volume of lava in the channel can often fluctuate and sometimes lava will overflow the channel. When this happens, lava congeals and cools along the edges of the channel forming natural levees and building up the lava channel above the surrounding surface.

Shield volcanoes have shallow-sloping sides and get their name from their resemblance to a warrior's shield. They form from basaltic lava that flows easily, or has a low viscosity, and builds up over time to form a broad shield volcano profile.

Some of the largest volcanoes on Earth, such as Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea of Hawaii, are shield volcanoes.

Written by: Maria Banks  (21 January 2009)
Acquisition date
28 October 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
253.3 km (157.4 miles)

Original image scale range
51.0 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~153 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
59°, with the Sun about 31° above the horizon

Solar longitude
148.5°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  26.5°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

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.