A Volcanic Pit Chain and Dust Avalanches
A Volcanic Pit Chain and Dust Avalanches
ESP_026249_2025  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes
This observation shows a volcanic pit chain in Amazonis Planitia.

Associated with two of the pits are meandering channels that splay into distributary patterns to the north. This suggests that the pits are eruptive centers, with the channels carved by lava.

A close-up image shows the eastern wall of the westernmost pit. The fluid-like streaks are the products of dust avalanches, with the dark color resulting from a thin coating of dust that has been removed from the surface.

The upper wall of the pit shows at least four distinct layers, each representing a sequence of one or more lava flows. A hazy, blueish haze bounds the outer circumference of the pit, perhaps resulting from suspended dust. The plains near the pit appear heavily muted, indicating a thick dust cover.

Written by: Nathan Bridges  (11 April 2012)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_026750_2025.
Acquisition date
02 March 2012

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
287.3 km (178.5 miles)

Original image scale range
29.0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~87 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
43°, with the Sun about 47° above the horizon

Solar longitude
78.0°, Northern Spring

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  17.8°
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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.