Exposed Layers in Crater Wall Near Mawrth Vallis
Exposed Layers in Crater Wall Near Mawrth Vallis
PSP_007744_2055  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy
The Mawrth Vallis region of Mars is an area of particular interest because of the identification of clay minerals by imaging spectrometers such as CRISM on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. These types of minerals (called “phyllosilicates” by geologists) are usually formed in the presence of water, and may mark the existence of a habitable environment billions of years ago. The mineralogic variations are colorful in HiRISE imagery, too, thanks to the camera’s near infrared capability. The colors are not natural colors that you would see with your own eyes, but they can discriminate between different compositions.

The crater near the middle of this image was formed after the layers were deposited. Different layers are clearly visible in the wall of the crater in the subimage (approxinately 540 meters across). This allows scientists to measure the thickness of the layers, and to observe how they alternated. The crater gives us a peek into what lies beneath, which will help interpret the history of this part of Mars.

These images contain gaps (black areas) where data was lost in transmission from the MRO spacecraft to radio dishes on the ground. This happens when there are mechanical difficulties with the ground stations or they are intentionally re-pointed to a different part of the sky due to unexpected problems on other spacecraft exploring the solar system.

Written by: Sarah Mattson   (30 April 2008)
Acquisition date
21 March 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
290.3 km (180.4 miles)

Original image scale range
29.1 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~87 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
41°, with the Sun about 49° above the horizon

Solar longitude
48.2°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  4.5°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (830MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (319MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (450MB)
non-map           (389MB)

IRB color
map projected  (104MB)
non-map           (287MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (216MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (210MB)

RGB color
non map           (291MB)
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.