A Volcano of Mud or Lava?
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
A Volcano of Mud or Lava?
ESP_054649_1665  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy
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This image shows a hill with a central crater. Such features have been interpreted as both mud volcanoes (really a sedimentary structure) and as actual volcanoes (the erupting lava kind). They occur on the floor of Valles Marineris below a closed topographic contour that could have held a lake, and the compaction of wet sediments may have created mud volcanoes.

The fracture pattern of the bright flow unit surrounding the hill resembles mud cracks. However, there have also been observations from the CRISM instrument interpreted as high-temperature minerals, suggesting actual volcanism, although not necessarily at this location. Fine layers in the hill are consistent with either volcanism or mud flows.

Either way, this activity is relatively recent in geologic time and may mark habitable subsurface environments.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (11 June 2018)
 
Acquisition date
24 March 2018

Local Mars time:
15:25

Latitude (centered)
-13.409°

Longitude (East)
301.206°

Spacecraft altitude
265.2 km (165.8 miles)

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53.1 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~159 cm across are resolved

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0.1°

Phase angle:
57.4°

Solar incidence angle
57°, with the Sun about 33° above the horizon

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148.5°, Northern Summer

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Sub-solar azimuth:  31.3°
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POSTSCRIPT
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.