Curious Mars


Lava Floods on the Ancient Plains of Mars

©ESA/DLT/FU BERLIN

Daedalia Planum

Two distinct volcanic eruptions have flooded this area of Daedalia Planum with lava, flowing around an elevated fragment of ancient terrain.

The images were acquired by ESA's Mars Express on 28 November 2013 towards the eastern boundary of the gigantic Tharsis Montes volcanic region, where the largest volcanoes on Mars are found.
The lava flows seen in this image come from Arsia Mons, the southernmost volcano in the Tharsis complex, which lies around 1000 km to the northwest of the region featured here.

This volcanic region is thought to have been active until tens of millions of years ago, relatively recent on the planet's geological timescale that spans 4.6 billion years.

The rough elevated terrain at the bottom of the main image is imprinted with three distinct but eroded impact craters, the largest of which is about 16.5 km wide and named Mistretta. The ancient foundation it sits on once belonged to the vast southern highlands, but is now surrounded by a sea of lava, like many other isolated fragments that can be seen in the wider context image.

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