Layers Exposed in Crater Near Mawrth Vallis
Layers Exposed in Crater Near Mawrth Vallis
PSP_004052_2045  Science Theme: Composition and Photometry
This image covers an impact crater roughly 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) in diameter. The portion highlighted shows a one kilometer segment of the crater wall and rim.

The surface outside the crater is relatively dark, while the interior wall of the crater exposes lighter, layered bedrock of diverse colors. A few dark patches on the crater wall have small dunes or ripples on their surfaces, and are likely pits filled with dark sand. The crater provides a window into the subsurface of Mars, revealing layered sedimentary deposits.

Just 30 kilometers (20 miles) to the East of this crater lies Mawrth Vallis, an ancient channel that may have been carved by catastrophic floods. In layered deposits surrounding Mawrth Vallis, the orbiting spectrometers OMEGA (on Mars Express) and CRISM (on MRO) have detected phyllosilicate (clay) minerals, which must have formed in the presence of water. In this region on Mars, the colors of layers seen by HiRISE often correlate with distinct water-bearing minerals observed by CRISM, so the color diversity seen here may reflect a dynamic environment at this location on early Mars.

Note: the color in these images is enhanced; it is not as it would normally appear to the human eye.

Written by: James Wray and Steve Squyres  (10 October 2007)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_012873_2045.
Acquisition date
08 June 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
286.4 km (178.0 miles)

Original image scale range
28.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~86 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
66°, with the Sun about 24° above the horizon

Solar longitude
253.4°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  321.6°
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IRB color
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RGB color
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Full resolution JP2 download
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EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
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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.