Geology of Mars

Colour shaded-relief topographic image of the western hemisphere of Mars where structural patterns in areas of low relief have been greatly enhanced

Since 2008 we have been using remote sensing techniques for planetary geoscience studies with an initial emphasis on the geology of Mars.

Image processing techniques, using software designed to process geophysical data such as aeromagnetic surveys, have been applied to the Mars MOLA digital terrain data to reveal a wealth of new structural information which cannot be otherwise seen.

Several images have been converted into 3D synthetic stereoscopic images and into GeoVisionary 3D visualisations to enhance the geological interpretation process — see also the image gallery below.

Planetary meetings

Filtered colour shaded-relief topographic image of the Olympus Mons volcanic region showing fracture patterns and lava flow structures

Mars images processed by BGS have been shown at several planetary meetings and conferences including the Aurora Meeting, December 2008, at the Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London; the European Space Agency International Conference on Comparative Planetology: VenusEarthMars, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, May 2009 (see poster pdf), and most recently at the Geological Mapping of Mars, workshop in Tuscany, Italy, October 2009.

Funding award | 2010

BGS recently won funding from the UK-US Collaboration Development Award. The award is funding BGS to work with Prof Peter Mouginis-Mark, Director of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) on geological mapping of Mars.

HIGP are within two years of launching their own spacecraft from a launch site in Hawaii, and are developing mission control and data reception capabilities to support these missions.

BGS is contributing expertise in the field of visualisation and geological interpretation of planetary datasets.


Contact Colm Jordan for more information.