PIA09714: Large Lava Fan on the Northwestern Flank of Olympus Mons

Large Lava Fan on the Northwestern Flank of Olympus Mons


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Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the Solar System is a shield volcano built up by lava flow after lava flow. Like the larger shield volcanoes Mauna Loa and Etna on Earth, many of these lava flows carried the liquid lava in open channels.

In some places these channels break down and the lava spills out, forming a broad fan. In the center of this HiRISE image ( PSP_003331_2005 ), you can see a lava channel that has fed many overflows to both sides. The lava was traveling from the southeast toward the north and northwest.

When viewed at full-resolution, the HiRISE image shows a very irregular surface. This is caused by a thick layer of very small particles that are being moved around by the wind. The linear features that could be mistaken for dunes in lower resolution images turn out to look more like wind-eroded ridges, called "yardangs" by geologists.

Observation Toolbox
Acquisition date: 4 April 2007
Local Mars time: 3:29 PM
Degrees latitude (centered): 20.4°
Degrees longitude (East): 224.7°
Range to target site: 270.5 km (169.1 miles)
Original image scale range: 54.1 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~162 cm across are resolved
Map-projected scale: 50 cm/pixel and north is up
Emission angle: 6.6°
Phase angle: 68.8°
Solar incidence angle: 63°, with the Sun about 27° above the horizon
Solar longitude: 218.0°, 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 Earth, Sun
System Mars Earth
Target Type Planet Earth, 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, 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/PIA09714
Identifier PIA09714