Layered Rocks in Meridiani
Layered Rocks in Meridiani
PSP_006873_1800  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy
This image shows a broad expanse of light-toned sediments in Terra Meridiani, near the Martian equator. Light deposits like this are common in many parts of Mars, and indicate a history of diverse geologic processes.

The rocks here are eroding in a variety of different textures and patterns, that may correspond to changes in factors like grain size and degree of cementation, or to entirely different types of rock. There is also a substantial color diversity across the image.

Rocks like these have many possible origins. They could have been laid down in rivers or lakes, settled from the air as dust or volcanic ash, or deposited by desert sand dunes. Sand dune deposits are known to occur in this region of Mars at the landing site of the Opportunity rover, but the rocks exposed there are only part of a thick stack. Some of the rocks in this image may have been deposited in streams: the narrow ridges in the northern part of the image could be an old channel converted into a ridge. This has happened at other sites on Mars where stream beds are more resistant to erosion than their surroundings.

Written by: HiRISE Team Member  (3 March 2008)
Acquisition date
14 January 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
271.5 km (168.8 miles)

Original image scale range
54.4 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~163 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
39°, with the Sun about 51° above the horizon

Solar longitude
17.2°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  17.6°
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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.