Unconformity in the South Polar Layered Deposits
Unconformity in the South Polar Layered Deposits
PSP_005946_0975  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This scene is 6 kilometers (approximately 3.7 miles) wide, illuminated from the lower right, and shows a section of the south polar layered deposits.

The south polar layered deposits are an accumulation of mostly water ice and dust, similar in some ways to ice caps like those in Greenland and Antarctica. In this example, the layers in the lower right end abruptly (truncate) at a curve in the layers that extend along the left side of the image. This type of truncation (termed an "unconformity" in geology) is usually due to erosion, wherein the layers in the lower right were eroded, followed by later deposition of the rest of the layers on top of the older layers (layer age likely increases from left to right). It is also possible that flow of these icy layers played a part in the complicated layer geometry exhibited in this example.

Written by: Kathryn Fishbaugh  (5 December 2007)
Acquisition date
02 November 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
246.5 km (153.2 miles)

Original image scale range
49.3 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~148 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
78°, with the Sun about 12° above the horizon

Solar longitude
341.0°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  112°
Sub-solar azimuth:  55.4°
Black and white
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IRB color
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Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
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IRB color
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Black and white
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non-map           (361MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (264MB)

Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
map-projected  (476MB)

RGB color
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B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
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RGB: red-green-blue
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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.