Gullied Trough in Noachis Terra
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Gullied Trough in Noachis Terra
PSP_001691_1320  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes


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This observation shows gullies in a semi-circular trough in Noachis Terra. The gullies are observed to face all directions.

It is interesting to note that the gully morphology seen here depends on the orientation of the gullies. The morphology differences are most pronounced on the sunlit slope, with the gullies facing south (down) being more deeply incised than those facing the west. It is unknown what caused the different gully morphologies, but there are several possibilities.

Gullies are proposed to form at locations determined by the availability of a forming liquid (thought to be water) and/or the amount of insolation the slope receives, among other factors. It is possible that the deeper gullies experienced more erosional events or that their erosional events were more effective for undetermined reasons. It is also possible that the gullies formed at different times such that they did not have the same amount of water— either for an individual flow or total—available to them. Also, the underlying topography could make the gullies appear relatively more incised without this actually being the case.

The majority of the gullies on both sides of the trough appear to originate at a boulder-rich layer visible in the subimage. The layer appears dark on the sunlit slope because the boulders sticking out from the slopes cast shadows. If these gullies formed by water from the subsurface, then it is possible that this layer is a permeable layer that conducted water to the surface. The layer is deteriorating and traveling down slope in the form of boulders. These boulders can clearly be seen in the alcoves of the gullies on both sides of the trough.

Note that the alternating stripes on the left side of the image are an artifact from camera noise. They are not real features.

Written by: Kelly Kolb   (28 April 2010)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_001823_1320.

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Acquisition date
06 December 2006

Local Mars time:
15:39

Latitude (centered)
-47.457°

Longitude (East)
4.358°

Range to target site
258.5 km (161.6 miles)

Original image scale range
51.7 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~155 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle:
14.0°

Phase angle:
89.2°

Solar incidence angle
78°, with the Sun about 12° above the horizon

Solar longitude
146.1°, Northern Summer

North azimuth:
96°

Sub-solar azimuth:
41.7°
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Postscript
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.