River of Sand
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
River of Sand
ESP_045081_1875  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
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A dominant driver of surface processes on Mars today is aeolian (wind) activity. In many cases, sediment from this activity is trapped in low-lying areas, such as craters. Aeolian features in the form of dunes and ripples can occur in many places on Mars depending upon regional wind regimes.

The Cerberus Fossae are a series of discontinuous fissures along dusty plains in the southeastern region of Elysium Planitia. This rift zone is thought to be the result of combined volcano-tectonic processes. Dark sediment has accumulated in areas along the floor of these fissures as well as inactive ripple-like aeolian bedforms known as “transverse aeolian ridges” (TAR).

Viewed through HiRISE infrared color, the basaltic sand lining the fissures’ floor stands out as deep blue against the light-toned dust covering the region. This, along with the linearity of the fissures and the wave-like appearance of the TAR, give the viewer an impression of a river cutting through the Martian plains. However, this river of sand does not appear to be flowing. Analyses of annual monitoring images of this region have not detected aeolian activity in the form of ripple migration thus far.

Written by: Anna Urso (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (21 September 2016)
 
Acquisition date
09 March 2016

Local Mars time
15:11

Latitude (centered)
7.435°

Longitude (East)
165.343°

Spacecraft altitude
274.6 km (170.7 miles)

Original image scale range
28.0 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
Equirectangular

Emission angle
11.8°

Phase angle
38.3°

Solar incidence angle
48°, with the Sun about 42° above the horizon

Solar longitude
119.9°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  28.7°
JPEG
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IRB color
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Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

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map-projected   (801MB)

IRB color
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JP2 EXTRAS
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map-projected  (396MB)
non-map           (402MB)

IRB color
map projected  (158MB)
non-map           (346MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (205MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (197MB)

RGB color
non map           (341MB)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products
HiView

NB
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

USAGE POLICY
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/JPL/University of Arizona

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.