Dunes and Inverted Craters in Arabia Terra
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dunes and Inverted Craters in Arabia Terra
ESP_016459_1830  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
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This image shows dark sand dunes and inverted craters in the Arabia Terra region of Mars.

The sand is dark because it was probably derived from basalt, a black volcanic rock that is common on Mars. Unlike traditional craters that are depressions, those here stick up above the surrounding plains. Such "inverted topography" is found on Mars and Earth where erosion has stripped away surrounding topography.

In this case, the craters were filled with sediment. Subsequent erosion stripped away the terrain around the filled craters, leaving the inverted topography visible here. The enlarged color view shows one of the inverted craters surrounded by the dark dunes.

Written by: Nathan Bridges   (3 March 2010)

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Acquisition date:29 January 2010 Local Mars time: 2:55 PM
Latitude (centered):3.120° Longitude (East):4.553°
Range to target site:272.2 km (170.1 miles)Original image scale range:27.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~82 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:2.7° Phase angle:42.9°
Solar incidence angle:45°, with the Sun about 45° above the horizon Solar longitude:44.7°, Northern Spring
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North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:27.0°
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North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:201.5°

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.