Dreaming of Graben in the Labyrinth of the Night
Dreaming of Graben in the Labyrinth of the Night
ESP_045605_1715  Science Theme: Composition and Photometry
Noctis Labyrinthus is a highly tectonized region immediately to the west of Valles Marineris. It formed when Mars’ crust stretched itself apart.

In this region, the crust first stretched in a north-south direction (as evidenced by the east-west trending scarp) and then in an east-west direction (as evidenced by the north-south trending smaller scarps). This sort of tectonic stretching creates faults in the crust (cracks along with masses of rock slide. This process is totally unrelated to Earth’s plate tectonics.).

The lower portions between faults are called “grabens” and the interspersed higher portions are called “horsts.” The Basin and Range tectonic province of the western United States is a close Earth analog to Noctis Labyrinthus, which is Latin for “labyrinth of the night.”

Written by: Kirby Runyon (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (29 June 2016)
Acquisition date
19 April 2016

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
256.0 km (159.1 miles)

Original image scale range
51.4 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~154 cm across are resolved

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50 cm/pixel and North is up

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Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
53°, with the Sun about 37° above the horizon

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139.5°, Northern Summer

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  33.6°
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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.