Central Uplift in a Crater West of Nili Fossae
Central Uplift in a Crater West of Nili Fossae
PSP_007464_1985  Science Theme: Composition and Photometry
This image shows the central uplift within an impact crater to the west of Nili Fossae. Images of crater central uplifts like this one provide rare views of the rock types that exist miles beneath the modern-day surface of Mars.

After the impact occurred, the crater’s central floor rebounded upward, forming a ring of hills and raising deeply buried rocks up to Martian surface. Infrared spectrometers such as THEMIS and CRISM have found that some of these rocks in the crater’s central uplift contain minerals that are intriguing and atypical for Mars, such as quartz, clays, and other water-bearing silicate minerals.

This portion of the image shows some of the central uplift rocks in fine detail. Blocks measuring from a few meters to over a hundred meters across have coloration differences, suggesting that their compositions are different. Some of the largest blocks are internally layered, implying that they are blocks of sedimentary rock. The impact process has shuffled these diverse blocks into this disorganized array known as impact breccia. Some of the materials that appear dark blue in this enhanced color image are probably patches of sand overlying the lighter-toned breccia.

Written by: James Wray  (9 July 2008)
Acquisition date
29 February 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
279.0 km (173.4 miles)

Original image scale range
27.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~84 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
40°, with the Sun about 50° above the horizon

Solar longitude
38.4°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  7.4°
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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’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.