Dark Spot Near Olmpus Mons Volcano September 24, 2008Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
Tags: HiRISE, JPL, Mars, NASA, Olympus Mons volcano, University of Arizona
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
This image covers a relatively dark-toned patch of ground west of the Olympus Mons volcano. This spot is one of several dark areas in this region of Mars.
These dark spots are distinctive because much of the surrounding area appears to be covered by light-toned dust. In pre-HiRISE images, the origin of this dark spot was ambiguous. This HiRISE image reveals that the dark color is likely the result of accumulations of basaltic sand (smooth, blue-colored material in the color swath) on top of otherwise relatively dust-free bedrock.
Evidence of layering is also visible within the dark (blue) area. There are alternating bands of lighter- and darker-toned material, consistent with alternating layers of bedrock. These alternating bands are not apparent outside of the dark area. This may mean that alternating layers of bedrock only occur within the dark area, or that these bedrock layers occur throughout the region but are covered and obscured by light-toned dust outside of the dark area