Channels East of Olympus Mons
Channels East of Olympus Mons
PSP_005401_1960  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
These channels emerge from a fracture system called the Gordii Fossae to the East of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system.

The channels bear superficial resemblance to features formed by floods of water. It is most likely that the channels were first carved by water and then coated with lava. However, it is possible that they are purely volcanic in origin. This puzzle will be solved by investigating a number of similar channels across Mars.

The hills are part of the Sulci Gordii, a series of knobs that form an apron around the eastern part of Olympus Mons. It is likely that these hills resulted from a giant landslide as part of the volcano collapsed under its own weight. The lumpy landslide deposit is now partially buried under younger lava flows, many of which seem to have been erupted from fractures around Olympus Mons.

Written by: Laszlo Kestay  (3 October 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_005546_1960.
Acquisition date
21 September 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
275.5 km (171.2 miles)

Original image scale range
27.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~83 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
46°, with the Sun about 44° above the horizon

Solar longitude
317.6°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  322.1°
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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.