Gullies on the Dunes of Russell Crater
Gullies on the Dunes of Russell Crater
PSP_010446_1255  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
This image represents part of the dune field present in the Northeast portion of Russell Crater. The dune field itself is roughly 30 kilometers long, and appears to have formed from windblown material trapped by the local topography.

This HiRISE image was taken during the Southern hemisphere's deep winter, where temperatures are low enough to allow the carbon dioxide frost to be stable. The frost is apparent primarily on the slopes that do not experience full sunlight, and is the target of a long term monitoring program by HiRISE.

Most of the gullies in this image appear to originate near the crests of their respective dunes, and are present on pole-facing slopes. The gullies in this image appear to have only two of the three components of normal gully morphology seen elsewhere on Mars, since they seem to lack a debris apron at their terminus. They have defined alcoves, and have unusually long channels that do not seem to change significantly in width.

Russell Crater is located in the Southern hemisphere at roughly 53.3 degrees South and 12.9 degrees East, and is approximately 140 kilometers in diameter.

Written by: Shawn D Hart  (7 January 2009)
Acquisition date
18 October 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
251.9 km (156.6 miles)

Original image scale range
50.8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~153 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
84°, with the Sun about 6° above the horizon

Solar longitude
143.7°, Northern Summer

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North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  40.3°
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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.