Light Layered Deposits in Valles Marineris
Light Layered Deposits in Valles Marineris
PSP_001456_1695  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
This image shows bright layered deposits near the junction of Coprates Chasma and Melas Chasma, part of Valles Marineris.

The outcrop in the full image is in a wide alcove in the northern wall and forms a broad mound several kilometers wide; dark, wind-blown material covers it in places. Similar light-toned rock occurs in many places in Valles Marineris.

An important question is when these materials formed: were they deposited within the troughs after they opened and then eroded, or are they remnants of the wall rock? Analysis of the orientation of the layers using HiRISE images may help scientists answer this question.

There are no fresh impact craters preserved on the outcrop surface, suggesting that the layered deposits are being eroded rapidly enough to erase the craters.

In many places, the light rocks have regular fractures called joints. Joints are common in rocks on Earth, and HiRISE images show them in many places on Mars as well. These can provide information about the forces which have affected the rock since it formed, which helps unravel the geologic history of this outcrop.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (13 December 2006)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_001865_1695.
Acquisition date
17 November 2006

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
260.3 km (161.8 miles)

Original image scale range
25.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~78 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
59°, with the Sun about 31° above the horizon

Solar longitude
136.9°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  32.9°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.