Crater on the South Polar Layered Deposits
Crater on the South Polar Layered Deposits
PSP_005748_1075  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This image of the south polar layered deposits (SPLD) shows some of the layers cut off against other layers below and right of center. Geologists call this an “angular unconformity” because the layers do not conform to each other across this boundary.

In this case, the angular unconformity was probably caused by erosion of the SPLD followed by deposition of new SPLD on top of the eroded surface, but faulting could also have caused the observed unconformity. Near the unconformity is an impact crater, one of dozens found on the SPLD. The presence of these craters implies that the surface of the SPLD has been relatively stable (i.e., little erosion or deposition) in the past few million years. This is in stark contrast to the north polar layered deposits, on which craters are very rare, implying very recent erosion/deposition.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff  (26 December 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_005405_1075.
Acquisition date
18 October 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
248.3 km (154.3 miles)

Original image scale range
52.6 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~158 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
67°, with the Sun about 23° above the horizon

Solar longitude
332.7°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  104°
Sub-solar azimuth:  55.3°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (209MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (103MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (131MB)
non-map           (124MB)

IRB color
map projected  (57MB)
non-map           (101MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (209MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (198MB)

RGB color
non map           (96MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
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’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.