Gullies and Dunes in a Crater in Newton Basin
Gullies and Dunes in a Crater in Newton Basin
PSP_003464_1380  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes
PSP_003464_1380 is a spectacular image showing gullies associated with distinct layers located at multiple elevations along one crater wall as well as multiple generations of dunes that are eroding or covering a more coherent rock structure.

The gullies in this crater appear to originate at the layers that cover a large extent of the slope. On the left side of the image, gullies can be seen emanating from layers in two distinct sets, each at a different elevation. Gullies are often, but not always, form near layers.

Many of the gullies seen here have sinuous, or wavy, channels. The bends are called meanders, and on Earth, meanders form in streams that have sustained and/or repeated flow. Not all of the gullies seen in this image extend the same distance downslope. This could result from differences in water supply, sediment supply, slope angle, and time of formation, among other factors.

Dunes are also visible in this image; they indicate the prevailing wind direction. What is particularly interesting about this dune field is that there is exposed rock in the middle of it. This rock is either being exposed as the wind moves the dunes away from it or it is being covered. The dunes appear to outline the shape of the rock, which suggests that the rock has been uncovered long enough for dunes to form around it.

As the dunes shift over time, they will probably expose more of the underlying rock. The subimage (~1 km across; 1976x1378, 8MB) shows several generations of dunes interacting with the protruding rock.

Written by: Kelly Kolb  (23 May 2007)

Acquisition date
23 April 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
253.9 km (157.8 miles)

Original image scale range
50.9 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~153 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
224.5°, Northern Autumn

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  15.8°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.