THEMIS Image of the Day, October 25, 2017. This image shows part of the dune field near Meroe Patera. The large ropy ridge running down the picture is a wrinkle ridge. These are caused when compression forces cause lava flows to buckle along a line of weakness. A similar effect occurs in your palm when you cup your hand.
High resolution imaging by other spacecraft has revealed that the dunes in this region are moving. Winds are blowing the dunes across a rough surface of regional volcanic lava flows. The paterae are calderas on the volcanic complex called Syrtis Major Planum. Dunes are found in both Nili and Meroe Paterae and in the region between the two calderas.
NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has spent over 15 years in orbit around Mars, circling the planet more than 69,000 times. It holds the record for longest working spacecraft at Mars. THEMIS, the IR/VIS camera system, has collected data for the entire mission and provides images covering all seasons and lighting conditions.
Over the years many features of interest have received repeated imaging, building up a suite of images covering the entire feature. From the deepest chasma to the tallest volcano, individual dunes inside craters and dune fields that encircle the north pole, channels carved by water and lava, and a variety of other feature, THEMIS has imaged them all.
For the next several months the Image of the Day will focus on the Tharsis volcanoes, the various chasmata of Valles Marineris, and the major dunes fields. We hope you enjoy these images!
More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.