Western Elysium Planitia
Giant floods of lava have covered much of the equatorial lowlands of Mars in the recent geological past. One such flood of lava passed through the narrow gap near the center of this HiRISE image.
The pass is only 2.3 km (1.4 miles) wide, yet the flows went on for another 500 km (300 miles) to the west. As the lava passed through the narrows, the surface of the flow became crumpled and broken, producing a rough surface. To the southeast, the flow moved more gently and the crust was slowly pushed up by liquid lava injected into the freezing lava flow.
Small irregular cones along the margins of the flow were created by explosions as water or ice underneath the lava flow boiled. While lava flows approaching this size have formed on Earth, the rapid erosion on our planet has destroyed the upper surfaces of the lava flows. Mars provides an extremely valuable opportunity to study aspects of giant lava flows that cannot be seen on Earth.
Acquisition date: 4 April 2007
Local Mars time: 3:29 PM
Degrees latitude (centered): 4.5 Â° Degrees longitude (East): 139.8 Â°
Range to target site: 273.3 km (170.8 miles)
Original image scale range: 54.7 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~164 cm across are resolved
Map-projected scale: 50 cm/pixel and north is up; Map-projection: EQUIRECTANGULAR
Emission angle: 0.1 Â°; Phase angle: 56.5 Â°; Solar incidence angle: 56 Â°, with the Sun about 34 Â° above the horizon Solar longitude: 227.8 Â°, Northern Autumn