Reading the Geologic Record
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Reading the Geologic Record
ESP_017013_1890  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
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This observation shows a series of parallel layers eroding into peculiar knobs and hills.

These sedimentary rocks were imaged on the floor of a large crater located at 8.8 degrees North, 358.3 degrees East. Similar rock units are found within several nearby craters also imaged by HiRISE, as seen in images PSP_001902_1890, ESP_013611_1910, and PSP_002733_1880. The occurrence of similar layers in each of these locations may indicate that they were once part of a much more extensive geologic unit that has now been largely eroded away.

One particularly interesting aspect of the layers in this image is their repetitive nature. Each layer appears to be nearly the same thickness throughout the outcrop, as has also been observed in other nearby layered units. This cyclic nature points to a formation process which occurred repeatedly, building up the deposit layer by layer. However, the exact formation mechanism and the climate cycle possibly responsible for forming the layers here remain unknown.

Studying the record exposed in rocks like these can help reveal secrets of the ancient Martian climate.

Written by: Kevin Lewis   (28 April 2010)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_016657_1890.

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Acquisition date
14 March 2010

Local Mars time:

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Range to target site
278.5 km (174.1 miles)

Original image scale range
27.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~84 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle:

Phase angle:

Solar incidence angle
46°, with the Sun about 44° above the horizon

Solar longitude
63.7°, Northern Spring

North azimuth:

Sub-solar azimuth:
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (1053MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (455MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (541MB)
non-map           (528MB)

IRB color
map projected  (158MB)
non-map           (402MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (235MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (225MB)

RGB color
non map           (387MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: 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.