Central Peak of a Large Crater
Central Peak of a Large Crater
ESP_014361_1585  Science Theme: Impact Processes
Crater formation is an intense phenomenon that sends shock waves into the surface that scours and displaces material to form a cavity. Larger craters are observed to possess a central structure formed as a result of bedrock uplifted from the subsurface. High pressures and temperatures experienced during impact cause irreversible changes to target-surface materials that contribute to the formation of rocks called “impactites.” These include impact melts which, as a consequence of melting and re-solidifying, are younger than the target-surface.

Identifying and studying well-preserved bedrock exposures associated with central uplifts may provide insights into subsurface composition and the geologic history of the target prior to impact. Here, we see a 41-kilometer diameter crater in Terra Sabaea that shows massive and well-exposed bedrock in its central uplift that is highly fractured, possibly due to the formative impact event. In addition, HiRISE color imaging facilitates the identification of at-least two different kinds of material that comprise the uplift. Erosional remnants of impact melt coating the exposed bedrock of the uplift is visible in the north-west part of the color strip. Detailed studies of such deposits could inform us about various modification processes that the crater underwent after initial impact.

Written by: Vidhya Ganesh Rangarajan, Livio Leonardo Tornabene, Leah Sacks, and Chimira Andres  (3 February 2020)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_021587_1585.
Acquisition date
19 August 2009

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
257.0 km (159.7 miles)

Original image scale range
26.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~80 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
35°, with the Sun about 55° above the horizon

Solar longitude
324.0°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  11.2°
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NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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.