Investigating Mars: Arsia Mons

Scaled Image

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

About this image

The three large aligned Tharsis volcanoes are Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons and Ascraeus Mons (from south to north). There are collapse features on all three volcanoes, on the southwestern and northeastern flanks. This alignment may indicate a large fracture/vent system was responsible for the eruptions that formed all three volcanoes. The flows of originating from Arsia Mons are thought to be the youngest of the region. This VIS image shows part of the northeastern flank of Arsia Mons. The scalloped depression are most likely created by collapse of the roof of lava tubes. Lava tubes originate during eruption event, when the margins of a flow harden around a still flowing lava stream. When an eruption ends these can become hollow tubes within the flow. With time, the roof of the tube may collapse into the empty space below. The tubes are linear, so the collapse of the roof creates a linear depression.

Arsia Mons is the southernmost of the Tharsis volcanoes. It is 270 miles (450 km) in diameter, almost 12 miles (20 km) high, and the summit caldera is 72 miles (120 km) wide. For comparison, the largest volcano on Earth is Mauna Loa. From its base on the sea floor, Mauna Loa measures only 6.3 miles high and 75 miles in diameter. A large volcanic crater known as a caldera is located at the summit of all of the Tharsis volcanoes. These calderas are produced by massive volcanic explosions and collapse. The Arsia Mons summit caldera is larger than many volcanoes on Earth.

The Odyssey spacecraft has spent over 15 years in orbit around Mars, circling the planet more than 69000 times. It holds the record for longest working spacecraft at Mars. THEMIS, the IR/VIS camera system, has collected data for the entire mission and provides images covering all seasons and lighting conditions. Over the years many features of interest have received repeated imaging, building up a suite of images covering the entire feature. From the deepest chasma to the tallest volcano, individual dunes inside craters and dune fields that encircle the north pole, channels carved by water and lava, and a variety of other feature, THEMIS has imaged them all. For the next several months the image of the day will focus on the Tharsis volcanoes, the various chasmata of Valles Marineris, and the major dunes fields. We hope you enjoy these images!

Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images. 


Image ID: 
V09417002 (View data in Mars Image Explorer)
2004-01-28 17:39
Tue, 2017-12-26
1024 pixels (17 km)
3648 pixels (60 km)
0.016674 km/pixel
0.0170244 km/pixel


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