Exposed Layers in Central Valles Marineris
Exposed Layers in Central Valles Marineris
PSP_004858_1670  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
This observation shows a landslide scarp on the northern wall of central Valles Marineris, a large canyon system equivalent in length from California to New York.

The landslide has exposed a fresh wall of the canyon so that individual layers of rock can be seen. The texture of these layers suggests that some of the darker rock layers are more resistant to erosion than the lighter layers. The variation in brightness and friability of the different layers suggests compositional differences. These layers may have a volcanic origin, having been deposited as ash layers, or a sedimentary origin, either being deposited by water or blown by the wind (aeolian).

This image is a little hazy because this image was taken in August 2007, when the large dust storm covered the surface of Mars and filled the atmosphere with fine dust particles. The extra dust in the atmosphere reflects more light into the camera.

Written by: Alix Davatzes  (22 August 2007)
Acquisition date
09 August 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
261.7 km (162.6 miles)

Original image scale range
26.0 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
37°, with the Sun about 53° above the horizon

Solar longitude
292.6°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  343.9°
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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/JPL/University of Arizona

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.