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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 17:35 EDT
Lava Flows of Daedalia Planum
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Lava Flows of Daedalia Planum

October 9, 2009
This THEMIS image captures a portion of several lava flows in Daedalia Planum southwest of the Arsia Mons shield volcano. Textures characteristic of the variable surface roughness associated with different lava flows in this region are easily seen. The lobate edges of the flows are distinctive, and permit the discrimination of many over- lapping individual flows. The surfaces of some flows look wrinkly and ropy, probably indicating a relatively fluid type of lava flow referred to as pahoehoe. The surface textures of lava flows can thus sometimes be used for comparative purposes to infer lava viscosity and effusion rates. Numerous parallel curved ridges are visible on the upper surfaces of some of the lava flows. These ridges make the flow surface look somewhat ropy, and at smaller scales this flow might be referred to as pahoehoe, however, these features are probably better referred to as pressure ridges. Pressure ridges form on the surface of a lava flow when the upper part of the flow is exposed to air, cooling it, but the insulated much warmer interior of the flow continues to move down slope (and more material is pushed forward from behind), causing the surface to compress and pile up like a rug.