Lava plains bear marks of Mars's volcanic past
An image from the European Space Agency's Mars Express Orbiter, which has been patrolling the Red Planet for nearly six years, shows lava flows from a Martian volcano that may have been active in the last 100 million years. Mars's volcanoes are not thought to be active today, but some of them, such as Arsia Mons, appear to have been in recent geologic history.
This lava flow is on Daedalia Planum, a plain southeast of Arsia Mons, and reflects varying stages of volcanic deposition. The elevated, textured lava at the center of the image is more recent, whereas the raised flows on the lower left of the plain have been coated by sediments over time, smoothing their surface.
Two craters in the image show the transformative effects of lava flows on the Martian landscape: the large crater at bottom is relatively unscathed, while a similar-size crater on the right has been all but erased by volcanic floods.
For those with 3-D glasses handy, the map of the region is also available as a high-resolution three-dimensional stereo image.