Layers and Sand on the Floor of Schiaparelli Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Layers and Sand on the Floor of Schiaparelli Crater
ESP_037161_1785  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
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Schiaparelli Crater is a 460 kilometer (286 mile) wide multi-ring structure. However, it is a very shallow crater, apparently filled by younger materials such as lava and/or fluvial and aeolian sediments.

Most of the floor is covered by a thin layer of dust, but in places where there are patches of dark sand, there is also well-exposed bedrock. This sand-bedrock association is commonly seen on Mars, and most likely, the sand is actively saltating (hopping in the wind) and kicks off the dust.

The enhanced-color cutout reveals the relatively bright bedrock, which has a morphology similar to other deposits on Mars interpreted as “dust-stone”, or ancient dust deposits that have been hardened into coherent bedrock.

In summary, one interpretation is that actively-moving sand kicks off the loose dust so we can see the hardened dust.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (30 July 2014)
 
Acquisition date
01 July 2014

Local Mars time
15:40

Latitude (centered)
-1.321°

Longitude (East)
14.653°

Spacecraft altitude
268.6 km (166.9 miles)

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53.7 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~161 cm across are resolved

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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.