Light-Toned Material in Melas Chasma
NASA/JPL/UArizona
Light-Toned Material in Melas Chasma
PSP_002630_1695  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy
This observation shows an outcrop of bright material in Melas Chasma, part of the giant Valles Marineris trough system.

These troughs contain many bright deposits, often layered. The origin of these materials is still not known, but is the subject of much study because answering this question will provide important information regarding the geologic history of Mars.

In this image, some layers are visible, but much of the surface has a strange scalloped texture. The cause of this texture is unclear, but it is likely related to the mechanism of erosion of these deposits as well as their physical nature.

These materials are being eroded by winds, forming elongated ridges called yardangs. These winds may also be responsible for the small-scale scalloped texture. Also, landslides have produced some talus cones, composed of piles of loose debris; these are visible in places, mostly near the base of the mound, as wedge-shaped features containing many boulders.



Written by: Colin Dundas  (14 March 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_005953_1695.
 
Acquisition date
17 February 2007

Local Mars time
15:41

Latitude (centered)
-10.275°

Longitude (East)
286.240°

Spacecraft altitude
264.8 km (164.6 miles)

Original image scale range
26.5 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~79 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle
8.5°

Phase angle
64.0°

Solar incidence angle
56°, with the Sun about 34° above the horizon

Solar longitude
185.5°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  9.6°
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POSTSCRIPT
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.