Close-Up of Streaks Emanating from Hale Crater
Close-Up of Streaks Emanating from Hale Crater
ESP_013916_1485  Science Theme: Impact Processes
This image views the ground a little over 500 kilometers (300 miles) from Hale Crater, a 125 by 150 kilometer (78 by 93 mile) impact crater located on the northern rim of the Argyre Basin.

The ground appears to have a linear pattern (somewhat easier to see viewing the entire image at once) extending from the bottom right to the top left of the image. The linear pattern of the light bedrock is especially evident in nighttime infrared images, where it appears as a series of bright streaks. The pattern points directly back to Hale Crater. It is most prominent near the crater, outside of the Argyre basin, but a hint of it extends almost to Valles Marineris, over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away.

This image shows areas of bedrock (light areas) that appear to have been grooved or scoured in a uniform direction. Superimposed on this in the low-lying areas are dark areas that consist of small ridges trending in the opposite direction to the scoured bedrock. The dark areas are sand and dust, and the small ridges are aeolian bedforms (that look like linear sand dunes, averaging approximately 100 to 300 meters, or 300 to 1,000 feet) that cross the image.

The suggestion that the pattern arises from bedrock that has been scoured along a linear trend away from Hale Crater is interesting because an outward-expanding blast of pulverized debris (known as a “base surge”) is thought to be one of the features associated with the formation of impact craters. Images such as this may be evidence that base surges are an important part of the impact process.

Written by: Andrea Philippoff and Livio Tornabene  (2 September 2009)
Acquisition date
15 July 2009

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
252.5 km (156.9 miles)

Original image scale range
50.7 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~152 cm across are resolved

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50 cm/pixel and North is up

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Solar incidence angle
35°, with the Sun about 55° above the horizon

Solar longitude
304.0°, Northern Winter

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  14.5°
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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.