Colorful Plains South of Coprates Chasma
Colorful Plains South of Coprates Chasma
ESP_069447_1640  Science Theme: Composition and Photometry
This image covers the high plains about 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Coprates Chasma, near the eastern end of the Valles Marineris canyon system. Here, the CRISM instrument on MRO has detected clay minerals, which imply substantial water-rock interactions in the past. These minerals often have a reddish- to yellow appearance in HiRISE images.

In this observation, the minerals appear concentrated along the boundaries of polygons up to 10 meters across. Perhaps the water-rock interactions at this site were most extensive within a network of pre-existing fractures dissecting the bedrock.

Rough, blue-to-purplish material appears to overlie the polygonal fractures in portions of the image. We also see lighter blue-to-green materials. While CRISM can provide a time constraint to the compositions of these varied materials, HiRISE shows us how they relate to each other and how such a colorful scene could have been assembled over geologic time.

Written by: James Wray (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (15 July 2021)
Acquisition date
20 May 2021

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
255.4 km (158.8 miles)

Original image scale range
51.1 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~153 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
63°, with the Sun about 27° above the horizon

Solar longitude
47.7°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  37.9°
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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.