Finely-Layered Rocks in Ius Chasma
Finely-Layered Rocks in Ius Chasma
PSP_007219_1720  Science Theme: Composition and Photometry
The high resolution of HiRISE allows us to see the many fine layers, or strata, of rock outcrops all over Mars. This false-color RGB image shows a portion of Ius Chasma in the western portion of the large Valles Marineris canyon system.

The outcrop of rock in the center of the image is about 5.5 kilometers across. Similar light-toned strata are observed elsewhere in the canyon system and the CRISM instrument has shown that they often contain sulfate salts. The presence of sulfate salts indicate that water once interacted with this area, possibly as fluids that migrated through pre-existing rocks or as shallow evaporating pools of water.

Much of this region has been covered by dust and sand, which appears brownish-red in the false color image. This material is eroded by wind over time and allows us to see the light-toned rock underneath the surface. There are also dunes (oriented north-south in the subimage) that obscure portions of the outcrop.

Many outcrops within Ius Chasma and elsewhere on Mars are covered by such dunes and dust, but the high spatial resolution of instruments such as HiRISE and CRISM allow us to see the geology and mineralogy of regions between these dunes to help unravel the geologic history of Mars.

Written by: Ralph Milliken  (3 March 2008)
Acquisition date
09 February 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
265.0 km (164.7 miles)

Original image scale range
26.5 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~79 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
46°, with the Sun about 44° above the horizon

Solar longitude
29.8°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  31.0°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
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Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
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RGB color
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Black and white
map-projected   (1263MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (595MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (688MB)
non-map           (706MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (605MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (308MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (316MB)

RGB color
non map           (566MB)

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/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.