Pit Craters of Tractus Catena
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Pit Craters of Tractus Catena
PSP_002420_2040  Science Theme: Tectonic Processes
twitter  •  tumblr

WALLPAPER
800
1024
1152
1280
1440
1600
1920
2048
2560

HIFLYER
PDF (11 x 17)


These pits formed through collapse above an underground void. The movement of rock along faults may have created this void deep underground.

Faults are commonly thought of as planar cracks in the ground. In reality, faults have very rough surfaces that can create voids as the rocks slide along the fault. Alternatively, the movement of magma (molten rock) underground may have also created such underground voids. As magma moves underground, it pushes aside the bedrock, making an underground tunnel. This tunnel remains behind as the magma drains away and subsequent collapse can occur into it. A combination of processes may also result in pit crater formation, as faults are pre-made passageways for the magma to move underground.

There is much evidence of faulting in this scene. The series of stair-stepped cliffs are actually faults, with each cliff representing the approximate location of a fault. Thus it seems likely that faults played an important role in the formation of these pit craters.

The role of magma flow in the formation of these pit craters remains unknown. The presence of eruptive vents near these pits would be a clue to the past presence of magma. Such vents are not observed in this image, although the absence of these vents does not rule out magma. Magma does not always erupt at the surface and can remain entirely underground.

Written by: Chris Okubo  (21 February 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_002710_2040.
 
Acquisition date
01 February 2007

Local Mars time
15:37

Latitude (centered)
23.824°

Longitude (East)
256.161°

Spacecraft altitude
280.0 km (174.0 miles)

Original image scale range
56.1 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
3.1°

Phase angle
54.1°

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

Solar longitude
176.2°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  351.6°
JPEG
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

JP2
Black and white
map-projected   (258MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (123MB)

JP2 EXTRAS
Black and white
map-projected  (136MB)
non-map           (124MB)

IRB color
map projected  (47MB)
non-map           (103MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (200MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (205MB)

RGB color
non map           (98MB)
ANAGLYPHS
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products
HiView

NB
IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

USAGE POLICY
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.