Colorful Central Peak in an Unnamed Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Colorful Central Peak in an Unnamed Crater
ESP_023674_1590  Science Theme: Impact Processes
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Small impact craters retain their original bowl shape, but once a crater is large enough that the force of gravity on the slopes of the crater wall is greater than the strength of the target material, the wall collapses inward to form a central peak.

On Mars, the transition between simple (bowl-shaped) and complex craters is observed to occur at about 7-kilometer diameter. The formation of central peaks in complex craters brings up material from deep beneath the Martian surface. Therefore, central peaks of complex craters are good places to look for ancient rocks.

The colorful rocks exposed in the central peak visible in this image probably reflect variations in mineral content that were caused by water activity early in Mars' history. The CRISM hyperspectral image that was taken at the same time as this HiRISE image may show evidence for the various types of minerals that presumably are responsible for the colors visible here.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff   (5 October 2011)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_024597_1595.



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Acquisition date:15 August 2011 Local Mars time: 2:11 PM
Latitude (centered):-20.533° Longitude (East):306.389°
Range to target site:259.1 km (162.0 miles)Original image scale range:51.8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~156 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:50 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:7.2° Phase angle:41.5°
Solar incidence angle:35°, with the Sun about 55° above the horizon Solar longitude:345.0°, Northern Winter
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North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:25.4°
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North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:199.2°

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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.