Dune Field in Crater in the Hellespontus Region
Dune Field in Crater in the Hellespontus Region
PSP_004275_1275  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
Hellespontus is one of the regions on Mars where dust storms have often been seen to start. Winds have picked up dust which has then become trapped on the broad crater floors of the region.

Large quantities of dark sand form beautiful features on the surface. This example is in a crater at 23 degrees East, 52 degrees South. At HiRISE resolution these features also show sinuous flows which are distinctly different in morphology from slope streaks. The latter are probably the result of gravity-induced slippage.

It is unknown whether these flows are currently active or what the material is that initiates the flow. Although the dune fields are at high Southern latitude, the very dark surface makes them strongly absorbant and therefore warm in the Martian summer. Hence, water is a possible candidate but this remains to be investigated.

Written by: Nicolas Thomas  (8 August 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_005330_1275.
Acquisition date
25 June 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
251.4 km (156.3 miles)

Original image scale range
25.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~75 cm across are resolved

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25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Solar incidence angle
45°, with the Sun about 45° above the horizon

Solar longitude
264.4°, Northern Autumn

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  24.8°
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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.