Layered Deposits North of Hellas Basin
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Layered Deposits North of Hellas Basin
PSP_010589_1510  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy
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This HiRISE image shows an outcrop of material in a crater at the edge of Hellas Basin. Hellas is a massive impact crater, formed early in the history of Mars. It has a complex history that may have included episodic lakes and seas.

The deposits in this image may help unravel this history. The light band visible at low resolution is the edge of an outcrop of sedimentary rocks. Large-scale striping can be seen, probably corresponding to deposits of sand and dust on relatively flat parts of the outcrop. At full resolution, very fine bands or layers are visible in the light rock. These probably indicate small-scale layers, although it is possible that they are highlighted by trapped dust.

Although many processes can form finely layered rock, it is possible that these were deposited in an ancient lake or sea. Light deposits occur on other parts of the edge of Hellas, and lake sediments can form thin layers. In addition to deposition, these layers may also record erosion, since there are possible unconformities where one layer appears to cut off another, suggesting that the first was eroded (removed) before the second was laid down.

Written by: Colin Dundas   (21 January 2009)

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Acquisition date:29 October 2008 Local Mars time: 3:47 PM
Latitude (centered):-28.685° Longitude (East):65.468°
Range to target site:258.4 km (161.5 miles)Original image scale range:51.7 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~155 cm across are resolved
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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.