Status Report

NASA Mars Odyssey THEMIS Image: Alba Patera Collapse Pits

By SpaceRef Editor
November 12, 2004
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Medium image for 20041112a

Image Context:

Context image for 20041112a
Context image credit: NASA/Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Team
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ParameterValue ParameterValue
Latitude43.1 &nbsp InstrumentVIS
Longitude259.4E (100.6W) &nbsp Resolution (m)19
Image Size (pixels)713×395 &nbsp Image Size (km)13.5×7.5

We will be looking at collapse pits for the next two weeks. Collapse

pits on Mars are formed in serveral ways. In volcanic areas, channelized

lava flows can form roofs which insulate the flowing lava. These features

are termed lava tubes on Earth and are common features in basaltic flows.

After the lava has drained, parts of the roof of the tube will collapse

under its own weight. These collapse pits will only be as deep as the

bottom of the original lava tube. Another type of collapse feature

associated with volcanic areas arises when very large eruptions completely

evacuate the magma chamber beneath the volcano. The weight of the volcano

will cause the entire ediface to subside into the void space below it.

Structural features including fractures and graben will form during the

subsidence. Many times collapse pits will form within the graben.

In addition to volcanic collapse pits, Mars has many collapse pits formed

when volatiles (such as subsurface ice) are released from the surface

layers. As the volatiles leave, the weight of the surrounding rock

causes collapse pits to form.

These collapse pits are found within graben surrounding Alba Patera.

Alba Patera is an old volcano that has subsided after it’s magma chamber

was evacuated.

[Source: ASU THEMIS Science Team]

Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University

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