Boulder Tracks on the Slopes of Noctis Labyrinthus
NASA/JPL/UArizona
Boulder Tracks on the Slopes of Noctis Labyrinthus
ESP_014287_1685  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
This image spans the floor and two walls of a pit in Noctis Labyrinthus, a system of deep, steep-walled valleys on the western edge of Valles Marineris.

The valleys themselves are tectonic features known as graben - trench-like features that form in response to extension (or stretching) of the crust. In the case of Noctis Labyrinthus, volcanic activity in the Tharsis region may have formed a bulge, which then stretched and fractured the crust above it.

HiRISE has taken many images (ESP_016845_1715, ESP_015922_1720, PSP_009474_1705 to name a few) in Noctis Labyrinthus to examine the light-colored layers on the valley floors, which may contain hydrated minerals (minerals with water bound in their molecular structure). This image was intended to look for any changes in the light-toned layers present in PSP_005400_1685, which was taken one Mars year (about two Earth years) earlier.

The subimage focuses on one of the pit walls, where numerous boulder tracks criss-cross each other in a large patch of smooth, dust-covered terrain. Boulders leave linear patterns in the dust as they tumble down the steep slopes.



Written by: Nicole Baugh  (1 October 2009)
 
Acquisition date
13 August 2009

Local Mars time
14:16

Latitude (centered)
-11.174°

Longitude (East)
261.938°

Spacecraft altitude
254.3 km (158.0 miles)

Original image scale range
25.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~78 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle
5.8°

Phase angle
39.2°

Solar incidence angle
34°, with the Sun about 56° above the horizon

Solar longitude
320.7°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  353.7°
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IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.