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In planetary geology, a scopulus (pl. scopuli, from Greek σκόπελος "peak"[1]) is a lobate or irregular escarpment.[2] In the early 1970s, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted scopulus as one of a number of official descriptor terms for topographic features on Mars and other planets and satellites.[3] One justification for using neutral Latin or Greek descriptors was that it allowed features to be named and described before their geology or geomorphology could be determined.[4] Currently, the IAU recognizes 54 descriptor terms. (See Planetary nomenclature.) Thirteen features with the descriptor term scopulus are present on Mars.


  1. ^ Liddell and Scott (1975). An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, p. 735.
  2. ^ Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
  3. ^ Greeley, R. (1994) Planetary Landscapes, 2nd ed.; Chapman & Hall: New York, pp. 35-36.
  4. ^ Russell, J.F.; Snyder, C.W.; Kieffer, H.H. (1992). Origin and Use of Martian Nomenclature in Mars, H.H. Kieffer et al., Eds.; University of Arizona Press: Tucson, AZ, p. 1310.