The Edge of Olympus Mons
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
The Edge of Olympus Mons
PSP_005019_1970  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
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The bottom of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system, is marked by a steep scarp. It is likely that this scarp is the result of the deformation and collapse of the volcano under its own weight.

The scarp exposes the internal structure of the volcano, revealing a stack of once deeply buried lava layers. Atop the lava flows is a thick layer of relatively weak and homogeneous material, that might be volcanic ash or dust carried by dust storms. The pit near the center of the image shows that the same basic layering extends for some distance up the flank of the volcano.

The pit must be more recent than the dust/ash layer since the pit cuts through that layer. While it is possible that the pit is very recent, this suggests that the mantling layer is quite old.

Written by: Laszlo P. Keszthelyi  (5 September 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_005441_1970.
Acquisition date
22 August 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
271.5 km (168.7 miles)

Original image scale range
27.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~82 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
51°, with the Sun about 39° above the horizon

Solar longitude
300.2°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  318.7°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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.