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Lava Flooded Crater
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Lava Flooded Crater

November 17, 2012
This image shows an impact crater about 3-kilometer (1.8 miles) wide in a region that has been flooded by lava.

The lava has overtopped the rim in at least two areas, to the southwest and northwest, and created a pond of lava on the crater floor. Where it flowed down the steep crater slope it carved gullies. There are similar gullies on steep crater slopes on the Moon, but probably carved by impact melt rather than lava. Dark streaks seen elsewhere on the crater slopes are from dust avalanches.

On the plains outside the crater there are distinctive landforms that form from lava inflation, where molten lava is injected under a solid crust to raise the surface. Only lava behaves in this manner, not mud or other fluids that might have been present on Mars.

Written by: Alfred McEwenCredits: ESA

Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona