Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 11, 2012

Volcanic Vent in Tharsis
Volcanic Vent in Tharsis

Credits: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University (ASU) - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

Back to Mars! In today's APOD we can see a beautiful picture taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter (during its 47329th orbit) that shows us a Volcanic Vent which has created, around itself, a small - and almost - Cylindrical Construct (such as a Volcanic Edifice that is similar, in fact, to a typical Volcano). This Surface Feature is located in the Volcanic District of Tharsis, on the East of Arsia Mons.

Remember that a Volcanic Vent (also known as "Volcanic Fissure"), is just a (mostly) Linear Surface Crack through which Lava erupts (better yet: emerges), but usually without any Explosive Activity. The Vent is usually a few meters wide, but it may reach, sometime, a lenghth of many kilometers. Active Fissure Vents can cause large Floods of Fluid Basalt as well as Lava Channels. This type of Volcanic Feature, however, is usually hard to recognize at first sight, either from the ground, as well as from outer space, and that is because it has no Central Caldera and the Surface around it (but, obviously, NOT in this case!) is often really smooth and flat.

Latitude: 5,10435° South
Longitude: 247,335° East
Instrument: VIS
Captured: August, 15th, 2012

This frame (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16330) has been additionally processed and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter and then looked down, towards the Surface of Mars), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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