Cratered Cones Near Hephaestus Fossae
Cratered Cones Near Hephaestus Fossae
PSP_004060_2020  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This HiRISE image shows several cratered cones near Hephaestus Fossae. The fossae are a network of troughs typically several hundred meters wide; parts of these troughs are visible at the edges of this image. These may be related to regional tectonic activity.

Several origins are possible for the cones. They could be volcanic: volcanic and tectonic activity are often coupled, and the cones bear some resemblance to small volcanoes on Earth called cinder cones. However, there are no obvious lava flows (often associated with cinder cones) in this field of view. The eruption could have been more explosive, producing only small fragments with no flows, but this is not certain.

There are alternate explanations for the cones. Pedestal craters form when material ejected from impact craters armors a layer which erodes elsewhere; this is an unlikely origin for the cones since there is no obvious trace of the ejecta around the cones. Mud volcanism can also produce cratered cones somewhat similar to these morphologically, and this has been suggested at other sites on Mars.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (12 September 2007)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_057069_2020.
Acquisition date
08 June 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
285.5 km (177.4 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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Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
63°, with the Sun about 27° above the horizon

Solar longitude
253.8°, Northern Autumn

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  322.2°
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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.