Image: The Niagara Falls of Mars

June 29, 2017, NASA
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Various researchers are often preoccupied with the quest for flowing water on Mars. However, this image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), shows one of the many examples from Mars where lava (when it was molten) behaved in a similar fashion to liquid water.

In a 3-D image from MRO's Context Camera, the northern rim of a 30-kilometer diameter situated in the western part of the Tharsis volcanic province is shown. (See the HiRISE 3-D image as well.) The image shows that a flow coming from the north-northeast surrounded the crater rim, and rose to such levels that it breached the crater rim at four locations to produce spectacular multi-level lava falls (one in the northwest and three in the north). These lava "falls" cascaded down the wall and terraces of the crater to produce a quasi-circular flow deposit. It seems that the flows were insufficient to fill or even cover the pre-existing deposits of the crater floor. This is evidenced by the darker-toned lavas that overlie the older, and possibly dustier, lighter-toned deposits on the .

This image covers the three falls in the north-central region of the crater wall. The and falls are distinct as they are rougher than the original features that are smooth and knobby. In a close-up image the rough-textured lava flow to the north has breached the crater wall at a narrow point, where it then cascades downwards, fanning out and draping the steeper slopes of the wall in the process.

The map is projected here at a scale of 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) per pixel. [The original image scale is 54.5 centimeters (21.5 inches) per pixel (with 2 x 2 binning); objects on the order of 164 centimeters (64.6 inches) across are resolved.] North is up.

Explore further: Image: Mysterious South Pole formation on Mars

Related Stories

Image: Mysterious South Pole formation on Mars

June 5, 2017

This observation from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show it is late summer in the Southern hemisphere, so the Sun is low in the sky and subtle topography is accentuated in orbital images.

Image: The splitting of the dunes

March 30, 2017

The mound in the center of this Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) image appears to have blocked the path of the dunes as they marched south (north is to the left in this image) across the scene. Many of these transverse dunes ...

Image: Well-preserved impact ejecta on Mars

January 13, 2017

This image of a well-preserved unnamed elliptical crater in Terra Sabaea, is illustrative of the complexity of ejecta deposits forming as a by-product of the impact process that shapes much of the surface of Mars.

Image: Cut crater in Memnonia Fossae

May 17, 2016

An extensive network of fault lines cut through this region of Mars, including one that slices clean through an ancient 52 km-wide crater.

Recommended for you

Periodic radio signal detected from the blazar J1043+2408

December 12, 2018

Using Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO), astronomers have detected a periodic signal in the radio light curve of the blazar J1043+2408, which could be helpful in improving our understanding about the nature of blazars ...

Rosetta witnesses birth of baby bow shock around comet

December 12, 2018

A new study reveals that, contrary to first impressions, Rosetta did detect signs of an infant bow shock at the comet it explored for two years – the first ever seen forming anywhere in the solar system.

Juno mission halfway to Jupiter science

December 12, 2018

On Dec. 21, at 8:49:48 a.m. PST (11:49:48 a.m. EST) NASA's Juno spacecraft will be 3,140 miles (5,053 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops and hurtling by at a healthy clip of 128,802 mph (207,287 kilometers per hour). ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.