PIA09713: Blocks in the Olympus Mons

Blocks in the Olympus Mons


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The aureole that surrounds the western and northern sectors of Olympus Mons has puzzled Mars geologists. The most common idea is that these deposits formed as giant land slides as the volcano partially collapsed under its own weight.

This HiRISE image ( PSP_003450_1975 ) is centered on a dark and relatively dust-free part of the aureole. Where the dust has been stripped off, swirling bands of darker and lighter rocks are visibile. These suggest gently warped layers that have been exposed by erosion. In fact, many of the small pinnacles and mesas in this area are being eroded by the wind in the same way as layered deposits in other parts of Mars. However, there are also blocks that shed dark material, that could be broken up lava rock. The many dunes in the area suggest that much of the debris is sand sized.

Observation Toolbox
Acquisition date: 4 April 2007
Local Mars time: 3:28 PM
Degrees latitude (centered): 17.4°
Degrees longitude (East): 216.7°
Range to target site: 280.7 km (175.5 miles)
Original image scale range: 28.1 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~84 cm across are resolved
Map-projected scale: 25 cm/pixel and north is up
Emission angle: 2.9°
Phase angle: 64.6°
Solar incidence angle: 62°, with the Sun about 28° above the horizon
Solar longitude: 223.8°, Northern Autumn

Background Info:

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the instrument was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp., Boulder, Colo.

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Mars Sun
System Mars
Target Type Planet Sun
Mission Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Instrument Host Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)
Extra Keywords Dune, Dust, Grayscale, Infrared, Map, Mountain, Volcano
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2007-05-30
Date in Caption 2007-04-04
Image Credit NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA09713
Identifier PIA09713