Becquerel Crater Dune and Yardang Interactions
Becquerel Crater Dune and Yardang Interactions
ESP_034419_2015  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
The creation of digital terrain models (DTMs) is an integral part of studying dune activity on Mars. They are used to determine dune heights and for precisely tying annual monitoring images to the DTM (called orthorectifying) for more accurate dune displacement calculations.

HiRISE DTMs of Becquerel Crater, located in Arabia Terra, are especial helpful for understanding dune-topography interactions. A dune field can be seen lining the north and south edges of the crater’s interior layered deposit. The summit of the deposit reaches 700 meters above the crater floor. Additionally, multiple erosional features can be observed on the surface of the deposit including: staircase weathering, knobs, and yardangs.

Yardangs are streamlined erosional landforms often resembling inverted boat hulls. These features form as a result of abrasion caused by windblown sediment. Thus, yardangs are oriented parallel to the direction of prevailing winds in the region at the time of their formation. Corridors between yardangs in Becquerel Crater reach up to 70 meters in depth and can be seen along the western edge of the deposit.

Activity has been detected in the dunes lining the deposit along with sediment removal and ripple migration within the yardang corridors. This activity is congruent with the orientation of yardangs and provides insight into past and present local wind regimes. Current dune sediment fluxes provide a conservative estimate of abrasion rates, which indicate that these yardangs have been forming over the past 6 million years.

Written by: Anna Urso  (7 January 2014)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_033707_2015.
Acquisition date
29 November 2013

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
286.0 km (177.7 miles)

Original image scale range
29.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~87 cm across are resolved

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25 cm/pixel and North is up

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40°, with the Sun about 50° above the horizon

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56.0°, Northern Spring

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Sub-solar azimuth:  13.9°
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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.