Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pavonis Mons

This image is of a tiny sliver of the eastern flank of Pavonis Mons. The very base of the volcano is the left-hand side of the image, whereas the right-hand side is the plain upon which the mountain rests. Pavonis Mons is the middle of the three "Prince" volcanoes on the Tharsis bulge.

Of interest is the three sets of pits that curve around near the base of the mountain. Each set of pits is probably a lava tube in which skylights opened up; the resulting pit caves then filled up with sand and dust over time. These pits differ from the recently-discussed pits on Arsia Mons (see Chain of Pits on Arsia Mons and Anaglyph of Arsia Mons' Chain of Pits) in that the latter are all in a straight line, thus probably being a fault in which the ground was pulled apart, as opposed to the Pavonis Mons pits, which are all curved, which is more typical of lava tubes.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University

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