Slab of Layered Material in Aureum Chaos
Slab of Layered Material in Aureum Chaos
PSP_007006_1765  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
This image shows a large outcrop of layered rock in Aureum Chaos, an area that has apparently collapsed, leaving a region of irregular knobs and hills. Unlike many of the knobs, the light outcrop shows distinct, nearly horizontal layers. This may indicate that it was deposited after the collapse of the Chaos.

Multiple layers are exposed in the outcrop, which is several kilometers long. The best exposures, in the north wall, reveal multiple different rock units with different color and texture. The bottom unit is very light-toned and shows little internal structure other than occasional fractures. Above this is a darker unit with a broken appearance, followed by fine, stepped layers. The top of the outcrop consists of knobs and spires that may be eroded remnants of the top of the stack. Many of the units show variations in color which could indicate further divisions.

This package of rocks may have been deposited by multiple processes. Alternatively, the same process could have delivered sediments from different sources. Some possible origins include dust or volcanic ash settling from the atmosphere, wind-blown sand, or material deposited in lakes.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (26 March 2008)
Acquisition date
24 January 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
271.1 km (168.5 miles)

Original image scale range
27.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~81 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
42°, with the Sun about 48° above the horizon

Solar longitude
22.1°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  23.6°
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IRB color
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Merged IRB
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Black and white
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non-map           (752MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (633MB)

Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
map-projected  (308MB)

RGB color
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B&W label
Color label
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EDR products

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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

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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.