Dissected Mantle Terrain and Scallops in Tempe Terra
Dissected Mantle Terrain and Scallops in Tempe Terra
PSP_007930_2310  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
This image shows Martian dissected mantle terrain in the Tempe Terra region, located on the northeastern flank of the Tharsis volcanotectonic province.

The dissected mantle terrain is observed between 30 and 60 degrees of latitude in both hemispheres of Mars. This mantle terrain is commonly believed to be young and to consist of a thin layer of an ice-dust mixture, perhaps deposited during the last periods of high obliquity. Martian dissected mantle terrain is often characterized by various erosional features, such as scalloped depressions that give it a pitted or dissected texture.

The presence of scalloped pits has led to hypotheses of the removal of subsurface material, such as interstitial ice, by sublimation (ice going directly from the solid state to the gas state). Their formation most likely involves development of oval-to scalloped-shaped depressions that may coalesce together, leading to the formation of large areas of pitted terrain. Scalloped pits typically have a steep pole-facing scarp (north in this observation) and a shallower equator-facing slope.

Formation of scalloped depressions may be a process that is still active today.

Written by: Maria Banks  (23 April 2008)
Acquisition date
05 April 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
302.5 km (188.0 miles)

Original image scale range
30.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~91 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
45°, with the Sun about 45° above the horizon

Solar longitude
54.6°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  339.2°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.