Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 1:21 EDT
A Channel Cut into an Impact Crater
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A Channel Cut into an Impact Crater

September 15, 2011
This image shows an impact crater in the eastern part of Elysium Planitia. The region is a smooth plain along the equator of Mars, between the rugged Southern highlands and the Elysium volcanic rise.

The plains have been repeatedly covered by lava flows that have filled in most of the low areas, resulting in a remarkably flat region. This particular crater has been surrounded by the youngest large lava flow known on Mars, the Athabasca Valles flood lava.

The lavas have flowed into the crater, through the lowest point in its rim, forming a leveed channel. The bottom of the crater is covered with sand dunes, so it is difficult to tell how much lava poured inside this crater. What is preserved here is one step in the process that has erased many other craters in Elysium Planitia as lava filled craters and other topographic lows.

Written by: Laszlo Kestay

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona