Guinnes of Marte

italiano.gif (4788 byte)

Thouht having a diameter modest, Mars present physical unique characteristics: great volcanoes and plunging canyons. In comparison the great Earth volcanoes are only little dwarf, and the Grand Canyon of Arizona is merely a ditch.

The Great Volcanoes

   Color mosaic of Olympus Mons

olimpusm.jpg (90603 byte)


Color mosaic of Olympus Mons volcano on Mars from the Viking 1 Orbiter. The mosaic was created using images from orbit 735 taken 22 June 1978. Olympus Mons is about 600 km in diameter and the summit caldera is 24 km above the surrounding plains.  North is up.






olimpys3.jpg (123461 byte)


A great volcano Olympus Mons, is many times larger than Hawai. This shows a composite of several Mariner 9 photographs that reveal the summit craters and the cliff at the base of the huge pile of lava.

Belove the photograph is an altitude trace across this tremendous mountain.


The Martian volcano Olympus Mons, was photographed by the Viking I orbiter 31 July 1976 from a distance of 8000 km. The 27-km-high mountain is wreathed in clouds extending 19 km up its flanks. The clouds are thought to be principally water ice condensed as the atmosphere cools. The crater is some 80 km across.




At left, Arsia Mons, called South Spot during Mariner 9 mission, is shown in a mosaic of photos taken 22 August. The crater is 120 km across, and the peak rises 16 km above the Tharsis Ridge, itself 11 km high. Vast amount of lava have flooded the plains.


olimpys.jpg (46945 byte)


Major mountains compared: Earth and Mars


 The great volcanoes of Mars (Tharsis Montes)


olimpys2.jpg (70527 byte)


From  bottom to top: Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons and Ascraeus Mons. Nord is the left corner of the picture. The big volcanoes stay on a surface of 13000 km. The same distance from Seattle (Washington) to S.Diego (California)

   Tharsis Montes and Noctis Labyrinthus


tarsis.jpg (87196 byte)


Viking 1 Orbiter color mosaic of the eastern Tharsis region on Mars. At left, from top to bottom, are the three 25 km high volcanic shields, Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons and Arsia Mons. The shield at upper right is Tharsis Tholus. The canyon system at lower right is Noctis Labyrinthus, the westernmost extension of Valles Marineris. The smooth area at bottom center is Syria Planum. The distance between the calderas of Ascraeus and Pavonis Mons is 800 km. North is up. The images used to produce this mosaic were taken during orbit 1334 on 22 February 1980.

The Great Canyon

The great martian canyon

canyon3.jpg (44565 byte)  

Global mosaic of 45 Viking 1 Orbiter images of Mars taken the 22 February 1980. The images are projected into point perspective, representing what a viewer would see from a spacecraft at an altitude of 2500 km. At center is Valles Marineris, over 3000 km long and up to 8 km deep. Note the channels running up (north) from the central and eastern portions of Valles Marineris to the dark area, Acidalic Planitia, at right.

  canyon.jpg (39466 byte)  

Valles Marineris and the Grand Canyon compared

  canyon1.jpg (61786 byte)  

The Valles Marineris is long like all the U.S.A.


More than 100 photos form the top mosaic mapping Valles Marineris, huge Martian complex of Canyons. Taken by the Viking 1 orbiter 23-26 August 1976, they are centered at 5 south latitude, 85 longitude, with north at the top. Ten photos taken 22 August form the center mosaic of the western end of the canyon. The volcanic plateau is deeply dissected into connected depressions


Mosaic of two photographs of the Tithonius Lacus


canyon4.jpg (72426 byte)  

This mosaic of two photographs of the Tithonius Lacus region on Mars taken by the Mariner 9 spacecraft revealed a canyon twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in Arizona when the pictures were compared with pressure measurements taken by the ultraviolet spectrometer experiment aboard the spacecraft. The arrow at left points to the Martian canyon estimated to be 9,500 feet (2.9 kilometers) deep. Earths\'92 Grand Canyon is 5,500 feet (1.6 kilometers) deep. The width of the Martian canyon is 75 miles (120 kilometers), the Grand Canyon is 13 miles (21 kilometers) wide. The dotted line through the picture is the UVS instrument\'92s scan path across the surface. Pressure measurements taken by the ultraviolet instrument are converted to relative surface elevations and shown in the profile line below. The vast chasma and branching canyons represent a landform evolution apparently unique to Mars. Subsidence along lines of weakness in the crust and sculp- turing by winds are believed to have formed the features. The photographs were taken with the wide angle camera aboard the spacecraft from an altitude of 1,070 miles and cover an area 400 miles across. North is to the right. The two arrows at right also relate low points to the ultraviolet measurements.



Oblique color mosaic of Candor Chasma

vom_01.jpg (117087 byte)  

Color mosaic of Viking Orbiter 1 and 2 images showing Candor Chasma, part of the Valles Marineris system on Mars. This oblique view is looking north over the 800 km wide chasma, which is centered at about 6.5 S, 71. W. The walls and floor show evidence of erosion and mass wasting and complex geomorphology.

 Great Flows


A July 9 mosaic of Viking 1 orbiter photos shows lava flows broken by faults forming ridges. Apparently a small stream once flowed northward (toward upper right) from Lunae Planum, crossed the area, and descended toward the east. In places water may have formed ponds behind ridges before cutting through.



At left, a fresh young crater about 30 km across, in Lunae Planum, is near a dry river channel running alongside a cliff in possible lava flows (Kasei Valley).


An oblique view across Argyre Planitia (the relatively smooth plain at top center of the photo) shows surrounding heavily cratered terrain. Brightness of the horizon to the right (with north toward upper left) is due mainly to a thin haze. Above the horizon are detached layers of haze 25 to 40 km high, thought to be crystals of carbon dioxide (dry ice). Both the lower photo mosaics were taken 11 July.




Buried Ice


Material appears to have flowed out of the Arandas crater on Mars, rather than being blasted out by the meteorite impact. Radial grooves on the surface of the flow may have been eroded during the last stages of the impact process. Photographed 22 July 1976 by the Viking 1 orbiter at 43N latitude, 15 longitude, Arandas is about 25 km in diameter.



linearazzo.gif (489 byte)