Lava Flow near the Base of Olympus Mons
Lava Flow near the Base of Olympus Mons
ESP_020090_1985  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This image shows a lava channel, which lies just to the east of the largest volcano in the solar system: Olympus Mons.

The channel appears to be discontinuous, meaning it disappears several times throughout its length, but in fact, it is likely that the channel continues underground as a lava tube.

These are relatively common features at terrestrial volcanic centers, such as the Big Island of Hawai'i. The channel appears to have been infilled with dust and sand, so that the entrance to a lava tube cave is no longer visible at this particular location; fortunately this has been observed elsewhere on Mars.

Written by: Livio Tornabene and Kayle Hansen (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (18 February 2015)
Acquisition date
08 November 2010

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
275.6 km (171.3 miles)

Original image scale range
55.8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~167 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
56°, with the Sun about 34° above the horizon

Solar longitude
177.9°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  354.0°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.