A Big Impact-Triggered Dust Avalanche
A Big Impact-Triggered Dust Avalanche
ESP_017229_2110  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
MRO’s Context Camera (CTX) acquired the image at lower left on18 November 2007 and the adjacent image on 14 Feb 2010, showing a large new slope streak in the aureole (giant landslide deposits) of Olympus Mons.

Slope streaks (dust avalanches) are common on Mars but this one is unusually wide and it began from an unusual extended/fuzzy source area. HiRISE acquired the follow-up image on 31 March 2010, revealing a small, pristine impact crater (blue arrow) in the fuzzy source area, which resembles the airblast patterns seen at many other new (recent year) impact sites. We’ve concluded that an impact event occurred sometime between the dates of the CTX images and triggered a large dust avalanche.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (5 May 2010)
Acquisition date
31 March 2010

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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.