Eroding Layers in an Impact Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Eroding Layers in an Impact Crater
PSP_001503_1645  Science Theme: Landscape Evolution
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This image shows a stack of layers on the floor of an impact crater roughly 30 kilometers across. Many of the layers appear to be extremely thin, and barely resolved.

In broad view, it is clear that the deposit is eroding into a series of ridges, likely due to the wind. Below the ridges, additional dark-toned layered deposits crop out. These exhibit a variety of textures, some of which may be due to transport of material.

The light ridges are often capped by thin dark layers, and similar layers are exposed on the flanks of the ridges. These layers are likely harder than the rest of the material, and so armor the surface against erosion. They are shedding boulders which roll down the slope, as shown in the subimage. Although these cap layers are relatively resistant, the boulders do not seem to accumulate at the base of the slope, so it is likely that they also disintegrate relatively quickly.

The subimage itself is 250 meters wide. The light is from the left. Boulders are visible on the slopes of the ridges along with thin dark layers including the cap layer, but they are absent on the spurs where the resistant cover has been eroded. This demonstrates that the boulders come only from the dark layers, and are not embedded in the rest of the deposit.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (24 January 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_002189_1645.
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Acquisition date
21 November 2006

Local Mars time:
15:35

Latitude (centered)
-15.279°

Longitude (East)
89.654°

Range to target site
256.3 km (160.2 miles)

Original image scale range
25.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~77 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle:
0.5°

Phase angle:
61.4°

Solar incidence angle
62°, with the Sun about 28° above the horizon

Solar longitude
138.7°, Northern Summer

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  34.4°
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POSTSCRIPT
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. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.