Southern Margin of Cerberus Palus
Southern Margin of Cerberus Palus
PSP_010744_1840  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This image shows the southern edge of a large basin called Cerberus Palus, located in Elysium Planitia near Mars' equator.

The Northern (top) half of the image depicts a small portion of a regionally extensive lava flow that ponded in Cerberus Palus. Where the surface texture of the lava is rough and ridged, the solidified flow-top crumpled and broke while the lava flow was still moving. Where the surface is smoother, it suffered less deformation prior to solidification of the lava flow.

Two distinct types of terrain dominate the southern (bottom) half of this image. The terrain to the west (left) consists of ejecta from an impact crater that predates the lava flow. Where this older ejecta blanket meets the lava near the middle of the image, the latter laps onto the former.

The terrain to the east (right) is more enigmatic. It consists of a high-standing plateau fractured into large, often tilted blocks. Along its northern margin (near the center of the image), this plateau-forming material appears to overprint the lava, and in the south-central part of the image, a tongue of lava emerges from underneath the fractured plateau. Two explanations are possible: either the lava flow was "invasive," in that it burrowed under less dense material, or the plateau-forming material is even younger than the lava, which is known to have formed during the youngest period in Mars' geologic history, the Late Amazonian.

Written by: Windy  (28 January 2009)
Acquisition date
10 November 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
274.0 km (170.3 miles)

Original image scale range
27.5 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~82 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
55°, with the Sun about 35° above the horizon

Solar longitude
155.6°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  14.7°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.