Layers and Dark Debris in Melas Chasma
NASA/JPL/UArizona
Layers and Dark Debris in Melas Chasma
PSP_002419_1675  Science Theme: Landscape Evolution
This subimage shows layering in a light-toned deposit in Melas Chasma.

The layers are sedimentary in origin, but there are many processes that could have deposited them, such as volcanic airfall from explosive eruptions, or dust-size particles settling out of the atmosphere due to cyclic changes, and deposition in standing bodies of water.

By looking at the slopes in the layers and how the layers intersect each other, scientists can rule out various origins. A darker material can be seen covering much of the layered deposit. Some of this dark material is loose and can be seen accumulating as debris aprons at the base of steep slopes. Other dark material appears indurated and has been eroded by the wind to form etched edges with topographic expressions.

The lack of impact craters on the layered deposit indicates that it is a relatively young deposit, or the craters have been removed by the wind, or the deposit was quickly buried and is now being exhumed.



Written by: Cathy Weitz  (14 February 2007)
 
Acquisition date
31 January 2007

Local Mars time
15:43

Latitude (centered)
-11.374°

Longitude (East)
287.607°

Spacecraft altitude
263.4 km (163.7 miles)

Original image scale range
26.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~79 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Equirectangular

Emission angle
0.1°

Phase angle
57.1°

Solar incidence angle
57°, with the Sun about 33° above the horizon

Solar longitude
176.2°, Northern Summer

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  15.7°
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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.