Distorted Layers in the South Polar Layered Deposits
Distorted Layers in the South Polar Layered Deposits
PSP_005418_1075  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This enhanced color image (1.2 kilometers or 0.7 miles across) shows a section of the south polar layered deposits, which are an accumulation of layers consisting mostly of water ice and dust. Perhaps their closest analog on Earth would be the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica.

This image is particularly interesting because the layers are not flat-lying but rather appear wavy. This appearance could partly be an “illusion” due to erosion after the flat-lying layers were deposited. In that case, the wavy appearance is due to the fact that the layer edges are wavy, going into and out of the plane of the outcrop exposing the layers (here, into and out of the computer screen).

Alternatively, this waviness could be due to deformation of the layers folding caused by flow of the ice. Here, the flow probably occurred long ago since current temperatures are too low to allow the ice to flow at a significant rate.

Written by: Kathryn Fishbaugh  (26 December 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_005853_1075.
Acquisition date
22 September 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
249.3 km (155.0 miles)

Original image scale range
50.3 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~151 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
61°, with the Sun about 29° above the horizon

Solar longitude
318.3°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  101°
Sub-solar azimuth:  52.2°
Black and white
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IRB color
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Merged IRB
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IRB color
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Black and white
map-projected  (381MB)
non-map           (389MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (349MB)

Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
map-projected  (585MB)

RGB color
non map           (330MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

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Color label
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EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
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/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.