Southeastern Scarp of Olympus Mons

Scaled Image

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

About this image

The movement pathways of molten rock, or lava, is demonstrated in this image of a portion of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our solar system. These now-solid lava flows all show nearly the same orientation, having flowed from northeast to southwest, down the slope of the volcano's southeastern flank. Throughout the image, narrow pairs of lineaments can be observed, these are called levees, and are essentially channel walls formed by the solidification and buildup of the edges of the lava flows. We can determine that the high-standing mountains must be older than the flows because they blocked their passage, causing the flows to change direction and go around the taller mountains. As in other THEMIS images, the lack of bright-dark contrast in this image indicates that a layer of dust covers these surfaces. The surfaces of the lava flows are virtually uncratered, attesting to the relatively recent formation of the flows, where recent is within the last 500 million years or so. Several meteorites found on Earth appear to have come from volcanic regions on Mars their ages are as young as 180 million years, leading many scientists to suggest that volcanoes of the Tharsis region, including Olympus Mons, may be the source regions of these meteorites. A prominent pear-shaped bowl is apparent on a hill in the lower right third of the image indicating the collapse and mass movement of material down slope, which also formed a debris pile below and southeast of the bowl.

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


Image ID: 
V01777009 (View data in Mars Image Explorer)
2002-05-09 14:47
Tue, 2002-06-04
1024 pixels (18 km)
3648 pixels (65 km)
0.018031 km/pixel
0.018162 km/pixel


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