Layered Pit in Noctis Labyrinthus
Layered Pit in Noctis Labyrinthus
PSP_005980_1725  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
This observation shows a pit in the Noctis Labyrinthus region. Noctis Labyrintnus (“Labyrinth of Night”) lies at the western end of Valles Marineris.

It is a jumbled “checkerboard” terrain consisting of short, narrow canyons that create a mosaic of heavily fractured blocks of the Martian crust. The origin of Noctis Labyrinthus is uncertain but it is believed to have formed by tectonic forces (crustal movements) and extensive faulting related to volcanic activity in the adjoining Tharsis region. As cracks and faults opened, ice and ground water in the subsurface may have escaped, forming troughs and pits.

The pit in this image has exposed older material that was laid down in many layers. The layers can be seen particularly well in the upper walls of the pit. Many of the layers appear to be relatively thin and light toned and a few layers appear to be eroding into large boulders.

Several large, high albedo dunes are present on the floor of the pit and on the surface surrounding it.

Written by: Maria Banks  (28 November 2007)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_019891_1725.
Acquisition date
05 November 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
263.0 km (163.5 miles)

Original image scale range
26.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~80 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
33°, with the Sun about 57° above the horizon

Solar longitude
342.4°, Northern Winter

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  4.5°
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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.