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Escarpment and landslides of Olympus Mons

These images from ESA's Mars Express show the western flank of the shield volcano Olympus Mons in the Tharsis region of the western Martian hemisphere.
 
These images were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) during orbit 143 from an altitude of 266 kilometres. They were taken with a resolution of about 25 metres per pixel and are centred at 222° East and 22° North. North is to the left.

The images show the western part of the escarpment, rising from the surface level to over 7000 metres. In the foreground, part of the extensive plains west of the escarpment are shown, known as an 'aureole' (from the Latin for 'circle of light'). See the black and white MOLA image for the full extent of this aureole.  

To the north and west of the volcano, these 'aureole' deposits are regions of gigantic ridges and blocks extending some 1000 kilometres from the summit like petals of a flower. An explanation for the origin of the deposits has challenged planetary scientists for decades.

The most persistent explanation, however, has been landslides. Large masses of shield material can be found in the aureole area. Several indications also suggest a development and resurfacing connected to glacial activity.

All images were taken by the HRSC on ESA's Mars Express spacecraft during orbit 143 on 24 February 2004.


Perspective view of scarp around Olympus Mons


Hi-Res JPG (6.22 MB)
Copyright: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

A perspective view of a section of the outward-facing scarp surrounding the Olympus Mons volcano, 550 kilometres around and up to six kilometres high in places.


Perspective view of scarp around Olympus Mons


Hi-Res JPG (4.29 MB)
Copyright: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

A perspective view of a section of the outward-facing scarp surrounding the Olympus Mons volcano, 550 kilometres around and up to six kilometres high in places.


Perspective view of scarp around Olympus Mons


Hi-Res JPG (2.67 MB)
Copyright: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

A perspective view of a section of the outward-facing scarp surrounding the Olympus Mons volcano, 550 kilometres around and up to six kilometres high in places.

Olympus Mons, complete with escarpment and aureole


Hi-Res JPG (472 KB)
Copyright: NASA/MOLA

This 3D view of the complete volcano has been derived from US Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) topographic data superimposed with the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) wide-angle image mosaic.


 
 
Author: Ulrich Köhler WWW-Editor: Dennis Reiß 
Last Modified: Thursday, 09-Sep-2004 11:56:48 CEST