Colorful Layers in a Crater Wall
Colorful Layers in a Crater Wall
ESP_069737_1500  Science Theme: Climate Change
Impact craters are natural “road cuts,” exposing planetary layers in cross-section. However, the violent process of impact can also disrupt existing layers.

A kilometer-wide cutout shows layers sloping from the crater’s rim at right downward toward its floor off to the left. A gradient of enhanced colors indicates diverse compositions. Clay minerals have been detected here, and one interpretation is that they formed through weathering under a wetter ancient climate, with layers near the surface having more water-altered compositions than deeper ones. Another interpretation is that the layers of different compositions were laid down at different times, from different processes and source materials.

Elsewhere, the lower layers appear abruptly offset along a fault, a common feature in impact craters of this size (roughly 20 kilometers). In addition, the upper layers show a patchy distribution of colors, with some blocks that might have been ejected from deeper locations within the crater during impact.

Written by: James Wray  (16 August 2021)
Acquisition date
12 June 2021

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
254.7 km (158.3 miles)

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

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
75°, with the Sun about 15° above the horizon

Solar longitude
57.7°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  42.6°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (132MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (83MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (65MB)
non-map           (113MB)

IRB color
map projected  (24MB)
non-map           (65MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (115MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (108MB)

RGB color
non map           (58MB)
10K (TIFF)

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