The Gemstone Floor of Noctis Labyrinthus
The Gemstone Floor of Noctis Labyrinthus
ESP_023359_1710  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
The smooth light-toned deposits on the floor of Noctis Labyrinthus, a series of depressions at the westernmost end of Valles Marineris, may contain a form of hydrated silica, perhaps opal, which is a gemstone.

The opal could have formed by chemical weathering of basaltic lava flows or volcanic ash in the presence of water. Also visible in the left side of the enhanced-color cutout are sand dunes with two colors, perhaps due to dark sand covered in places by bright reddish dust, and an impact crater with dark ejecta.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (31 August 2011)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_023003_1710.
Acquisition date
21 July 2011

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
255.9 km (159.0 miles)

Original image scale range
28.1 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~84 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
30°, with the Sun about 60° above the horizon

Solar longitude
331.8°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  357.1°
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   (940MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (458MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (460MB)
non-map           (429MB)

IRB color
map projected  (161MB)
non-map           (341MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (252MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (243MB)

RGB color
non map           (328MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

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

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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.