Scalloped Cliff Formations
Scalloped Cliff Formations
ESP_079343_2640  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This image is a portion of the North Polar Layered Deposits (NPLD) exposed at an outcrop by the troughs and scarps. The NPLD are stacked layers of dusty water ice, approximately 2 kilometers deep and 1,000 kilometers wide.

These layers have different fraction of ice and dust content. The layered deposits record deposition and erosion history with in them. The transitions between erosion and accumulation can result in unconformities that are observed at the surface by optical instruments.

This image highlights the scallop-like cliff formation in the layering exposed at an outcrop of an NPLD spiral trough. These scalloped cliffs extend for kilometers and immediately overlay stratigraphic angular unconformities. It is hypothesized that these cliffs are formed due to the varying erosional resistance of layers and that their unique wavy appearance is due to the wind scouring at an angle.

Written by: Akhila Gopalakrishna Nair and Isaac Smith  (2 August 2023)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_079237_2640.
Acquisition date
30 June 2023

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
318.0 km (197.6 miles)

Original image scale range
32.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~97 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
60°, with the Sun about 30° above the horizon

Solar longitude
84.6°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  108°
Sub-solar azimuth:  323.3°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (674MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (378MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (378MB)
non-map           (361MB)

IRB color
map projected  (157MB)
non-map           (256MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (182MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (167MB)

RGB color
non map           (228MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

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

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.