Mojave crater

The Mojave crater on Mars is interesting because among other things, it has alluvial fans that look remarkably similar to landforms in the Mojave desert.

On the image1 above the crater has about the same color like the northwestern floor of Gale crater, being about 4,400 meters below Martian "sea level".
But the description on Wikipedia says the depth of Mojave is approximately 2,600 meters.

So, what is the real depth of Mojave crater?

1Image from USGS MC-11. An alternative map.


2 Answers 2


NASA confirms the latter - 2600m:

The depth of the crater -- about 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles) -- also demonstrates that Mojave has experienced little infilling or erosion.

The terrain was mapped using stereo pairs of images from the HiRISE imager on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

I believe the confusion is from comparing depth vs elevation. Mojave Crater is in the outflow region of Valles Marineris into Chryse Planitia, an area that is already ~2km below zero-elevation. So although Mojave Crater is 2.6km deeper than its surroundings, it's ~4.5km below 'sea-level'.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, i think you've expained the confusion, although i dont think Mojave Crater is on the edge of Chryse Planitia. upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2a/… $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Aug 7, 2018 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ If i compare the colors of Mojave crater and its surroundings on the MOLA map, then the surroundings are already at minus 4 km. unless the rim of the crater is supposed to be the surrounding. $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Aug 7, 2018 at 11:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Conelisinspace yes, I believe the definition of 'depth' being used by NASA here is roughly 'difference in elevation from the lowest point to the rim' $\endgroup$
    – Jack
    Aug 7, 2018 at 11:49

Like the answer from @Jack already noted, the confusion is indeed from comparing depth vs elevation.
What i really wanted to know was the depth below "sea level".
With Mars Trek's "Calculate Elevation Profile" tool you can find that the floor of Mojave crater is about 5.1 km below "sea level", 600 meters lower than Gale crater's !
Together with Nicholson crater it is one of the deepest craters near the equator of Mars.


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