North Polar Gypsum Dunes in Olympia Undae
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
North Polar Gypsum Dunes in Olympia Undae
ESP_045501_2605  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
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These sand dunes are a type of aeolian bedform and partly encircle the Martian North Pole in a region called Olympia Undae.

Unlike most of the sand dunes on Mars that are made of the volcanic rock basalt, these are made of a type of sulfate mineral called gypsum. Whence the sand? Well, gypsum is a mineral that can often form from the evaporation of water that has sulfur and calcium dissolved in it. This sand was probably sourced from a northern region on Mars that used to be quite wet. The boxy gridding of the dunes indicates that the wind blows in multiple directions.

Note: “Aeolian” means wind-blown and “bedform” means piles of sediment shaped by a flowing fluid (liquid or gas).

Written by: Kirby Runyon (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (15 July 2016)
 
Acquisition date
10 April 2016

Local Mars time:
14:06

Latitude (centered)
80.418°

Longitude (East)
198.133°

Spacecraft altitude
318.9 km (199.3 miles)

Original image scale range
31.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~96 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel

Map projection
Polarstereographic

Emission angle:
0.5°

Phase angle:
65.1°

Solar incidence angle
65°, with the Sun about 25° above the horizon

Solar longitude
135.6°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  107°
Sub-solar azimuth:  319.8°
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non-map           (384MB)

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non-map           (331MB)

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RGB color
non map           (307MB)
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EDR products
HiView

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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.