Faults and Channels on Elysium Mons
Faults and Channels on Elysium Mons
PSP_003426_2035  Science Theme: Tectonic Processes
Elysium Mons is a large shield volcano on the opposite side of Mars from Olympus Mons and the other giant Tharsis volcanoes. Like its siblings in Tharsis, Elysium Mons is covered with lava flows.

The lower parts of Elysium Mons are also cut by large sinuous channels. Features like these can be found on the Moon, where they were carved by lava. On Mars, there has been some suggestion that water, rather than lava, was responsible for the erosion.

This image is covers a location where three different sinuous channels (running generally west to east) come together and are then cut by a pair of faults (running roughly north-south). The ground has pulled apart and dropped down in between these two faults, forming a depression that geologists call a "graben." In areas where there was more ground collapse, small depressions (or "pit craters") formed.

The thick coating of dust makes it hard to tell what fluid last ran through the sinuous channels in this location. However, the layers of hard rock that can be occasionally seen poking through the dust indicate that what they eroded, was a stack of lava flows.

Written by: Laszlo Kestay  (6 June 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_003703_2035.
Acquisition date
20 April 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
283.2 km (176.0 miles)

Original image scale range
28.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~86 cm across are resolved

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25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Solar incidence angle
64°, with the Sun about 26° above the horizon

Solar longitude
222.6°, Northern Autumn

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  331.6°
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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.