Boulder Tracks on the Slopes of Noctis Labyrinthus
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

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

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

Emission angle

Phase angle

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°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (737MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (334MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (367MB)
non-map           (401MB)

IRB color
map projected  (118MB)
non-map           (329MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (184MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (179MB)

RGB color
non map           (343MB)
10K (TIFF)

B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:

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.