Gorgonum Chaos Mesas
Gorgonum Chaos Mesas
PSP_004071_1425  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes
This observation shows mesas that are part of Gorgonum Chaos, a region of chaotic terrain, which is a jumble of mounds and mesas grouped together. Chaotic terrain is most commonly found in Mars near the sources of the gigantic outflow channels. Gorgonum Chaos is one of the few exceptions.

Some of the troughs between the mesas appear to have V-shaped bottoms; there is no obvious flat floor in between. Others have dunes running down their centers probably indicating flat floors. It is possible that the mesas were once connected and that something caused fractures in the original mesa's surface that were then preferentially eroded.

The subimage is of the far left side of the second trough from the bottom. The top left and bottom right are bordering mesa tops. Prominently displayed on the south (bottom) facing trough wall is a group of gullies that have a set of dark materials running across them. The materials are probably dunes, and they are on top of the gully channels indicating that they formed more recently.

Written by: Kelly Kolb  (1 August 2007)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_012246_1425.
Acquisition date
09 June 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
254.3 km (158.0 miles)

Original image scale range
25.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~76 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
43°, with the Sun about 47° above the horizon

Solar longitude
254.3°, Northern Autumn

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  8.0°
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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.