Fan in Holden Crater
Fan in Holden Crater
PSP_009841_1530  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes
This image shows a beautifully preserved alluvial fan located on the southern interior wall of Holden Crater.

The ridges on the fan surface radiate from the apex and are "inverted channels" that once supplied the fan with sediment. The scalloped distal edges show an impressive cross-section through a layered sequence providing scientists with insight into the geologic history of this crater and climate conditions on early Mars.

As detailed by Grant et al. (Geology, 2008) from previously released adjacent images (PSP_003077_1530, PSP_003644_1530 and others), Holden provides evidence for two very different types of water-rich depositional environments on ancient Mars. The older, lower layers in the fan are thin, continuous and clay-rich and were likely deposited in long-standing body of water. By contrast, the younger units at the top of the fan are very jumbled and are characteristic of sediment that was deposited in shorter-lived, higher-energy floods.

Holden Crater is one of six remaining landing site candidates for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, a mission scheduled for launch in 2011.

Written by: Sharon Purdy  (22 October 2008)
Acquisition date
01 September 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
257.9 km (160.3 miles)

Original image scale range
52.5 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~158 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
71°, with the Sun about 19° above the horizon

Solar longitude
120.8°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  44.0°
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   (499MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (311MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (247MB)
non-map           (236MB)

IRB color
map projected  (124MB)
non-map           (270MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (494MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (447MB)

RGB color
non map           (232MB)
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.