We provide an overview of features indicative of the interaction between water and lava and/or magma on Mars as seen by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera during the Primary Science Phase of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) mission. The ability to confidently resolve meter-scale features from orbit has been extremely useful in the study of the most pristine examples. In particular, HiRISE has allowed the documentation of previously undescribed features associated with phreatovolcanic cones (formed by the interaction of lava and groundwater) on rapidly emplaced flood lavas. These include "moats" and "wakes" that indicate that the lava crust was thin and mobile, respectively [Jaeger, W.L., Keszthelyi, L.P., McEwen, A.S., Dundas, C.M., Russel, P.S., 2007. Science 317, 1709-1711]. HiRISE has also discovered entablature-style jointing in lavas that is indicative of water-cooling [Milazzo, M.P., Keszthelyi, L.P., Jaeger, W.L., Rosiek, M., Mattson, S., Verba, C., Beyer, R.A., Geissler, P.E., McEwen, A.S., and the HiRISE Team, 2009. Geology 37, 171-174]. Other observations strongly support the idea of extensive volcanic mudflows (lahars). Evidence for other forms of hydrovolcanism, including glaciovolcanic interactions, is more equivocal. This is largely because most older and high-latitude terrains have been extensively modified, masking any earlier 1-10 m scale features. Much like terrestrial fieldwork, the prerequisite for making full use of HiRISE's capabilities is finding good outcrops.
Additional publication details
Hydrovolcanic features on Mars: Preliminary observations from the first Mars year of HiRISE imaging