Slope Instability
Slope Instability
ESP_037700_1710  Science Theme: Landscape Evolution
One small section of this image shows boulders that have rolled down the slope of a crater wall. The boulders vary in size, with the largest one approximately 6 meters across. Unlike the boulder in a previous image, this one is not standing on end. We can tell by using the sun angle and shadow length to figure out the height and then comparing that to its other measurements.

We can determine the origin of the boulders by tracing their up-slope tracks. They appear to come from one small part of the crater wall that is less stable than surrounding materials. It is likely that there have been numerous rockfall events from this area, as suggested by the many boulders down-slope of this area, some with clear tracks and others with indistinct or no tracks visible.

Written by: HiRISE Targeting Specialists (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (15 July 2016)
Acquisition date
12 August 2014

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
260.9 km (162.2 miles)

Original image scale range
52.2 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~157 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
58°, with the Sun about 32° above the horizon

Solar longitude
176.9°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  13.5°
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Black and white
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non-map           (199MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (251MB)

Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
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RGB color
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B&W label
Color label
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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’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.