Polygonal Fracturing of South Polar Layered Deposits
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Polygonal Fracturing of South Polar Layered Deposits
PSP_004959_0865  Science Theme: Polar Geology



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This image shows the south polar layered deposits, with curving layer outcrops caused by erosion of valleys into the deposits.

On closer inspection, polygonal (mostly rectangular) fractures are visible, mostly near the center of the image. Polygonal fractures are also observed in the north polar layered deposits, but typically on a much smaller scale.

Here in the south, the fractures cross layer boundaries, while in the north the fractures are usually confined to a single layer. Therefore, the fractures in the south polar layered deposits formed after the surface was eroded to the configuration seen here, probably due to expansion and contraction of water ice below the surface.Written by: Ken Herkenhoff   (30 September 2007)

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Acquisition date:17 August 2007 Local Mars time: 9:49 PM
Latitude (centered):-86.396° Longitude (East):179.858°
Range to target site:248.6 km (155.4 miles)Original image scale range:49.7 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~149 cm across are resolved
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Emission angle:9.5° Phase angle:65.3°
Solar incidence angle:71°, with the Sun about 19° above the horizon Solar longitude:297.4°, Northern Winter
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North azimuth:201° Sub-solar azimuth:53.0°
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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.