Banded Flow Terrain in Hellas Basin
Banded Flow Terrain in Hellas Basin
PSP_008559_1405  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
Hellas Basin is the largest known impact crater on the surface of Mars (approximately 2100 kilometers in diameter) and the second largest in the solar system to only the Moon’s South-Pole Aitken Basin.

The basin is located in in the Southern highlands of Mars and is thought to have been formed very early in Mars geologic history during the Late Heavy Bombardment, about 3.9 billion years ago. Each new observation of this impact basin has increased our understanding of the region’s geologic complexity.

The region in this image is an example of what is known as complex banded terrain (also known colloquially as “taffy-pull” terrain) in the northwest portion of Hellas Planitia. Its process of formation is still largely unknown, although it appears to be due to erosion of hard and soft sediment layers. However, this does nothing to explain the complex flow patterns that seem to be the result of ductile deformation. Ductile deformation results from layers undergoing strain, or deformation, due to large external stresses.

Written by: Shawn Hart  (2 July 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_007702_1405.
Acquisition date
24 May 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
261.4 km (162.4 miles)

Original image scale range
55.0 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~165 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
81°, with the Sun about 9° above the horizon

Solar longitude
76.0°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  50.8°
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   (671MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (313MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (365MB)
non-map           (359MB)

IRB color
map projected  (137MB)
non-map           (249MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (617MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (595MB)

RGB color
non map           (245MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

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’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.