EGU General Assembly 2020
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Dynamics of the extremely elongated cloud on Mars Arsia Mons volcano

Jorge Hernandez Bernal1, Agustín Sánchez-Lavega1, Teresa del Río-Gaztelurrutia1, Ricardo Hueso1, Iñaki Ordóñez-Etxeberria1, Alejandro Cardesín-Moinelo2, Eleni Ravanis2, Simon Wood3, Dmitrij Titov4, Kyle Connour5, Nick Schneider5, Daniela Tirsch6, Ralf Jaumann6, Ernst Hauber6, and Brigitte Gondet7
Jorge Hernandez Bernal et al.
  • 1University of the Basque Country, Escuela de Ingeniería de Bilbao, Applied Physics I, Bilbao, Spain (
  • 2European Space Agency, ESAC, Madrid, Spain
  • 3European Space Agency, ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany
  • 4European Space Agency, ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands
  • 5Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA
  • 6German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Rutherfordstr. 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
  • 7Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, CNRS/University Paris Sud, Orsay, France

Starting in September 2018, a daily repeating extremely elongated cloud was observed extending from the Mars Arsia Mons volcano. We study this Arsia Mons Elongated Cloud (AMEC) using images from VMC, HRSC, and OMEGA on board Mars Express, IUVS on MAVEN, and MARCI on MRO. We study the daily cycle of this cloud, showing how the morphology and other parameters of the cloud evolved with local time. The cloud expands every morning from the western slope of the volcano, at a westward velocity of around 150m/s, and an altitude of around 30-40km over the local surface. Starting around 2.5 hours after sunrise (8.2 Local True Solar Time, LTST), the formation of the cloud resumes, and the existing cloud keeps moving westward, so it detaches from the volcano, until it evaporates in the following hours. At this time, the cloud has expanded to a length of around 1500km. Short time later, a new local cloud appears on the western slope of the volcano, starting around 9.5 LTST, and grows during the morning.

This daily cycle repeated regularly for at least 90 sols in 2018, around Southern Solstice (Ls 240-300) in Martian Year (MY) 34. According with these and previous  MEx/VMC observations, this elongated cloud is a seasonal phenomenon occurring around Southern Solstice every Martian Year. We study the interannual variability of this cloud, the influence of the Global Dust Storms in 2018 on the cloud’s properties (Sánchez-Lavega et al., Geophys. Res. Lett. 46, 2019), and its validity as a proxy for the global state of the Martian atmosphere (Sánchez-Lavega et al., J. Geophys. Res., 123, 3020, 2018). We discuss the physical mechanisms behind the formation of this peculiar cloud in Mars.

How to cite: Hernandez Bernal, J., Sánchez-Lavega, A., del Río-Gaztelurrutia, T., Hueso, R., Ordóñez-Etxeberria, I., Cardesín-Moinelo, A., Ravanis, E., Wood, S., Titov, D., Connour, K., Schneider, N., Tirsch, D., Jaumann, R., Hauber, E., and Gondet, B.: Dynamics of the extremely elongated cloud on Mars Arsia Mons volcano, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-433,, 2019


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  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-433, Alan Wood, 06 May 2020

    Hey! Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how much I enjoyed this presentation. It isn't in my field, but one of the joys of EGU is looking at other work in other fields. This is one of the most interesting and exciting pieces of work that I've seen so far this meeting. Thanks & have a great EGU!

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