Streaks on the North Polar Layered Deposits
Streaks on the North Polar Layered Deposits
ESP_026897_2655  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This image shows an exposure of the north polar layered deposits with strange streaks superimposed on the layers.

These streaks may be formed by winds blowing bright water frost over the surface, removing frost from the surface, or blowing dark material over the frost. These streaks make it a bit more difficult to see the angular unconformity running from upper left to lower right. The unconformity can be traced by finding where the layers at the top of the image are truncated by the layers at the bottom of the image.

This relationship shows that the layered deposits were eroded in this area, probably thousands to millions of years ago, before younger layers were deposited over them. The streaks over them were formed during the current northern summer, and may not persist for long.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff  (6 June 2012)
Acquisition date
22 April 2012

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
319.6 km (198.6 miles)

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

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

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Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
61°, with the Sun about 29° above the horizon

Solar longitude
100.3°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  123°
Sub-solar azimuth:  319.3°
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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. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.