Sunday, September 02, 2007

Update on the "Black Hole" on Mars

As an update to Stefan's earlier post about a photo which shows a "black hole" on the surface of Mars, that lead some of you to speculate about its origin: A new image of the location with the dark spot (150 x 157 meters across), was taken recently, on August 8th, from a different angle. It was taken at about 2:30 p.m. local (Mars) time from the West, when the sun was also shining from the same direction.

The new photo shows a wall on one side of the 'hole' indicating that it's most likely a pit and not, as speculated, the entrance to an underground cavern. The HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) collaboration calculates from the shadow of the rim cast onto the wall of the pit that the pit is at least 78 meters (255 feet) deep [source].

[Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona]

For more info, see e.g. J.P. Skipper's Mars Anomaly Research, "Deep Hole found on Mars", or the HiRISE websites.

Via NewScientist.


  1. Dear Bee,

    wow, thank you, that's very intersting news! I didn't hear it so far, and this story with this strange "black hole" is definitly worth to follow up!

    Cheers, Stefan

  2. 1) Southern Tamaulipas, Mexico, El Zacatón cenote (geothermal sinkhole). 1070 feet deep.

    2) Eastern Sierra Madre Mountains in central Mexico, Sotano de las Golondrinas. 1300 feet deep.

    3) Croatia Velebit National Park. Darko Baksici discovered a 1693 foot deep karst hole.

    If the Mars hole is an indicator of karst topography, isn't that fun?

  3. Yes, fascinating. Aren't there some other weird-looking pictures of Mars features, (not even counting the "face" which isn't as impressive close up but still fetching) like meandering glassy tentacle-like extensions with stripes around them etc, that even got some members of US Congress asking for more pictures and explanations?

    BTW Bee, at Cosmic Variance the new post is about "Public transportation in Germany: Efficient, expensive, and deadly" You might want to weigh in, and BTW I lived in Kaiserslautern for three years a few decades ago.

  4. Hi Uncle Al,

    I am not an expert in geology, but it seems that the Mars hole is not a karst phenomenon, but has volcanic origins - i.e. created by large bubbles of gas connected to volcanism.

    Best, stefan


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