Volcanic Layers Exposed in Pit
Volcanic Layers Exposed in Pit
ESP_012310_1715  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy
This long pit on the western flank of the Arsia Mons volcano shows a thick stack of volcanic layers.

This is probably a collapse pit that formed in a similar manner to how such pits form in Hawaii. Underlying large volcano complexes there is a large lava “plumbing system.” While active, these lava tubes can support the weight of overlying solidified lava layers. However, when volcanic activity slows down, and lava drains away, these lava tubes empty and often collapse.

Scientists can study the layers in the pit walls to learn things about the eruptions that built the volcano in this area.

Written by: Ross Beyer  (1 April 2009)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_004412_1715.
Acquisition date
12 March 2009

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
249.9 km (155.3 miles)

Original image scale range
26.0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~78 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
53°, with the Sun about 37° above the horizon

Solar longitude
225.9°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  349.2°
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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.