Layers in Terby Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Layers in Terby Crater
PSP_001596_1525  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
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This image shows a sequence of predominantly light-toned, layered, sedimentary rocks exposed by erosion on the floor of Terby Crater. Terby Crater is approximately 165 kilometers (100 miles) in diameter. It's located on the northern rim of the Hellas impact basin in the southern hemisphere of Mars.

The layered sequence is approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) thick and consists of many repetitive, relatively horizontal beds. The beds appear to be laterally continuous, which means you can identify a given layer in many locations across the area.

Details in the layering seen in this HiRISE image reveal variations in the brightness of the layers and may indicate differing mineralogies. Based on the ease with which wind appears to erode these layers, they are believed to be composed mostly of fine-grained sediments. However, one or more of the beds is weathering to form meter (yard)-scale boulders that have accumulated downslope in fans of debris (see subimage). These larger boulders indicate the material in the layers may be stronger than just fine-grained sediments.

It's not clear how these layers formed, but it may have involved deposition by wind or volcanic activity. Another theory involves all or part of the Hellas Basin being filled with ice-covered lakes at one time in the past. The layers we see may have formed as material that was suspended in the water dropped down to the bottom of the lake.

Written by: Maria Banks   (16 May 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_002216_1525.



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Acquisition date:28 November 2006 Local Mars time: 3:38 PM
Latitude (centered):-27.318° Longitude (East):74.283°
Range to target site:256.5 km (160.3 miles)Original image scale range:25.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~77 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:0.3° Phase angle:68.1°
Solar incidence angle:68°, with the Sun about 22° above the horizon Solar longitude:142.3°, Northern Summer
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North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:37.6°
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North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:211.2°

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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.