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:

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

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 up

Map projection

Emission angle:

Phase angle:

Solar incidence angle
35°, with the Sun about 55° above the horizon

Solar longitude
345.0°, Northern Winter

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   (178MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (90MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (80MB)
non-map           (105MB)

IRB color
map projected  (28MB)
non-map           (97MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (178MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (158MB)

RGB color
non map           (85MB)
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.