Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 8, 2015

Features of Ceraunius Fossae
Features of Ceraunius Fossae

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

In this impressive VIS image, taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter on July, 27th, 2015, and during its 60.406th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see a little bit of the Martian Region known as Ceraunius Fossae, which is centered at 19,78° North Latitude and 267,0° East Longitude. Ceraunius Fossae is an area of the Red Planet which is characterized by the presence of intensely Fractured Terrain; it lies in the Northern Portion of the Tharsis Region of Mars, directly to the South of the large Volcano named Alba Mons and it basically consists of AN ancient Highland Crust that has been deformed by a number of Parallel Faults and Tension Cracks. In a few places, younger Lava Flows cover the Fractured Terrain, dividing it into several large patches (or "Islands").

The abovementioned Faults are, mainly, narrow, North-to-South oriented Graben, like the ones that we can see in today's picture. The Graben (note: the name is both singular and plural) are long and (relatively) narrow Troughs bound by two inward-facing normal Faults that enclose a Downfaulted Block of Crust. The Graben of Ceraunius Fossae are commonly several kilometers wide, between 100 to slightly over 1000 meters deep, and very closely spaced, thus giving the Terrain a rugged Topography. Many of these Graben are hundreds of kilometers long and have Walls that show Complex Scalloped Segments. Some of them also contain Pit Crater Chains (also known as "Catenae") on their Floors, and this circumstance suggests the presence of "Deep-seated Tension Cracks" into which the Surface Material has - we believe, as IPF, relatively rapidly - drained (---> fallen).

Latitude (centered): 27,0278° North
Longitude (centered): 249,2900° East
Instrument: VIS

This image (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w and Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19767) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced and sharpened, Gamma corrected and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a normal 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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