An Active Gully in Matara Crater
An Active Gully in Matara Crater
ESP_063969_1300  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
Gullies in the sand dunes of Matara Crater are very active. One large gully in particular has had major changes in every Martian winter since HiRISE began monitoring, triggered by the seasonal dry ice frost that accumulates each year.

This time there was an especially large change, depositing a huge mass of sand. The sand divided into many small toes near its end, or perhaps many individual flows descended near the same spot. Additionally, a long sinuous ridge of sand was deposited. This could be a “levee” that formed along one side of a flow, but there is not much sand past the end of the ridge, so it might also be the main body of a flow. How many changes can you see in the cutout?

Written by: HiRISE Science Team (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (14 April 2020)
Acquisition date
19 March 2020

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
251.2 km (156.1 miles)

Original image scale range
56.0 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~168 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
73°, with the Sun about 17° above the horizon

Solar longitude
169.1°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  94°
Sub-solar azimuth:  37.2°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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/JPL/University of Arizona

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.