Banded Terrain in Hellas
Banded Terrain in Hellas
PSP_003931_1370  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes


This image shows enigmatic banded terrain in Hellas Planitia. Hellas is an extremely large, ancient basin formed when an asteroid struck Mars billions of years ago. Good examples of the bands are visible at the northern edge of the image and in the lower left.

The reason for the banded texture is not certain, even with HiRISE resolution. Some of the band material appears to be extremely rich in small boulders about one meter across. It appears that the bands form topographic steps in places, likely due to erosion. Alternating strong and weak layers can produce steps like this as they are eroded.

It is not clear how the band material was deposited, but the convoluted appearance may be a product of deformation, coupled with erosion. Distortion in three dimensions, joined with partial erosion of the deposits, can produce complex textures. Further complications may arise because the banded material may be draped over underlying topography.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (11 July 2007)
Acquisition date
29 May 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
258.4 km (160.6 miles)

Original image scale range
25.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~78 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
46°, with the Sun about 44° above the horizon

Solar longitude
247.4°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  13.7°
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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’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.