Piles of Sand with Different Sizes and Colors
Piles of Sand with Different Sizes and Colors
ESP_073613_2210  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
This image shows a variety of wind-related features near the center of Gamboa Crater. Larger sand dunes form sinuous crests and individual domes.

There are tiny ripples on the tops of the dunes, only several feet from crest-to-crest. These merge into larger mega-ripples about 30 feet apart that radiate outward from the dunes. The larger, brighter formations that are roughly parallel are called “Transverse Aeolian Ridges” (TAR). These TAR are covered with very coarse sand. (More details are described in a paper by Day and Zimbelman.)

The mega-ripples appear blue-green on one side of an enhanced color cutout while the TAR appear brighter blue on the other. This could be because the TAR are actively moving under the force of the wind, clearing away darker dust and making them brighter. All of these different features can indicate which way the wind was blowing when they formed. Being able to study such variety so close together allows us to see their relationships and compare and contrast features to examine what they are made of and how they formed.

Written by: Ingrid Daubar (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (21 July 2022)
Acquisition date
10 April 2022

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
298.1 km (185.3 miles)

Original image scale range
29.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~89 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
72°, with the Sun about 18° above the horizon

Solar longitude
206.1°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  333.1°
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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.