HiRISE: Pit crater near Elysium Mons

ESP_043222_2035This image was taken of an area on the lower southeastern flank of the volcano Elysium Mons. In the center is a small, dark pristine-appearing pit approximately 130 meters in diameter, which is clearly visible among the numerous small impact craters that are heavily covered by dust and sediment. These pit craters are usually appear in the younger Tharsis volcanic region, but this is one of the first seen in the older Elysium volcanic region.

Garden variety craters are excavated by impacts and are characterized by raised rims, sloped walls and surrounded by ejecta blankets, but pit craters are simply sink holes in the ground with near vertical walls and floors that are only visible when the sun is high in the sky. They are deep holes that may lead to underground caves in volcanic terrain. This isolated pit crater is located in a lava field that is crisscrossed by long, linear troughs. [More at link]

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