Dunes in Abalos Undae
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Dunes in Abalos Undae
PSP_010219_2785  Science Theme: Polar Geology
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This enhanced-color close-up shows an example of dunes in Abalos Undae.

The Abalos Undae dune field stretches westward, away from a portion (Abalos Colles) of the ice-rich north polar layered deposits that is separated from the main Planum Boreum dome by two large chasms. These dunes are special because their sands may have been derived from erosion of the Rupes Tenuis unit (the lowest stratigraphic unit in Planum Boreum, beneath the icier layers) during formation of the chasms. Some researchers have argued that these chasms were formed partially by melting of the polar ice.

The enhanced color data illuminate differences in composition. The dunes appear blueish because of their basaltic composition, while the reddish-white areas are probably covered in dust. Upon close inspection, tiny ripples and grooves are visible on the surface of the dunes; these features are formed by wind action, as are the dunes themselves.

It is possible that the dunes are no longer migrating (the process of dune formation forces dunes to move in the direction of the main winds) and that the tiny ripples are the only active parts of the dunes today.

Written by: Kate Fishbaugh   (19 November 2008)

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Acquisition date
30 September 2008

Local Mars time:

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Range to target site
319.6 km (199.7 miles)

Original image scale range
63.9 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~192 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle:

Phase angle:

Solar incidence angle
74°, with the Sun about 16° above the horizon

Solar longitude
134.9°, Northern Summer

North azimuth:

Sub-solar azimuth:
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
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RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (369MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (205MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (191MB)
non-map           (148MB)

IRB color
map projected  (90MB)
non-map           (155MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (373MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (339MB)

RGB color
non map           (143MB)
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: 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.