Terraced Craters and Layered Targets
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Terraced Craters and Layered Targets
ESP_033014_2260  Science Theme: Impact Processes
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Small impact craters usually have simple bowl shapes; however, when the target material has different layers of different strength, then more complicated crater shapes can emerge.

The most common situation is a weaker layer overlying a stronger one. In that case, these craters usually have a terrace on their inner walls where the crater abruptly becomes smaller at the depth where this change in material occurs.

In this image of Arcadia Planitia, we can see one of these terraced craters. In fact, there are two distinct terraces implying at least three distinct layers in this target. Images like this help scientists probe the near subsurface of Mars. In this case, the different material strengths are probably caused by layers of ice (weak) and rock (strong).

Written by: Shane Byrne (audio by Tre Gibbs)   (12 September 2013)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_034082_2260.



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Acquisition date:11 August 2013 Local Mars time: 2:16 PM
Latitude (centered):45.648° Longitude (East):188.604°
Range to target site:307.6 km (192.3 miles)Original image scale range:30.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~92 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:8.7° Phase angle:46.2°
Solar incidence angle:53°, with the Sun about 37° above the horizon Solar longitude:5.6°, Northern Spring
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North azimuth:96° Sub-solar azimuth:319.9°
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North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:135.2°

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. 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. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.