Resistant Lava and Erosion
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Resistant Lava and Erosion
ESP_058635_1940  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy
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This image demonstrates the curious phenomenon called “topographic inversion.” The southern half of the picture is covered by a well-preserved lava flow. The flow stops just at the brink of descending a steep slope. Lava isn’t afraid of falling, so what happened here?

It is likely that the terrain to the north was once higher, and stopped the lava from flowing any further. Once the lava cooled, it protected the ground beneath it, while the softer rocks to the north continued to erode, “inverting” the topography so that what was once low-lying ground is now the top of a mesa.

Written by: Colin Dundas (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (13 May 2019)
 
Acquisition date
29 January 2019

Local Mars time
13:57

Latitude (centered)
13.640°

Longitude (East)
213.214°

Spacecraft altitude
279.6 km (173.8 miles)

Original image scale range
56.0 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~168 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle
2.4°

Phase angle
40.5°

Solar incidence angle
38°, with the Sun about 52° above the horizon

Solar longitude
332.2°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  327.2°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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.