Secondary Craters in Bas Relief
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Secondary Craters in Bas Relief
ESP_049076_1845  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes


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This region of Mars has been sprayed with secondary craters from 10-kilometer Zunil Crater to the northwest.

Secondary craters form from rocks ejected at high speed from the primary crater, which then impact the ground at sufficiently high speed to make huge numbers of much smaller craters over a large region. In this scene, however, the secondary crater ejecta has an unusual raised-relief appearance like bas-relief sculpture. How did that happen?

One idea is that the region was covered with a layer of fine-grained materials like dust or pyroclastics about 1 to 2 meters thick when the Zunil impact occurred (about a million years ago), and the ejecta served to harden or otherwise protect the fine-grained layer from later erosion by the wind.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (17 April 2017)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_049564_1845.
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Acquisition date
14 January 2017

Local Mars time:
14:09

Latitude (centered)
4.415°

Longitude (East)
171.113°

Range to target site
274.6 km (171.6 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
Equirectangular

Emission angle:
2.9°

Phase angle:
43.5°

Solar incidence angle
41°, with the Sun about 49° above the horizon

Solar longitude
299.1°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  325.2°
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NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

POSTSCRIPT
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.