NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Image: Lava-Draped Channel System on Mars

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2007


This image shows a portion of the Athabasca Valles channel system. Part of a streamlined "island" is visible on the right, and dune-like landforms that occur on the channel floor can be seen on the left. At higher resolution it is apparent that a thin layer of solidified lava coats both the dune-like landforms and the topographically higher streamlined island. Two impact craters within the subscene can be identified by the relatively bright-rayed ejecta that surround them.

Most of the region is dusty and, therefore, fairly uniform in color. However, blue tinges in the HiRISE false color data delineate scarps that are too steep for dust to accumulate. One such scarp appears where a narrow fracture cuts through the streamlined island. Another appears on the topographic step at the edge of the streamlined island.

A link to the full HiRISE image that includes this view is online at

Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

High resolution

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