Proctor Crater Dune Field
Proctor Crater Dune Field
PSP_002455_1320  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
This observation shows the edge of a dark dune field on the floor of Proctor Crater, a 150 kilometer diameter crater in the southern highlands of Mars.

The subimage is a close-up view of the dark dunes. These dunes are most likely composed of basaltic sand that has collected on the bottom of the crater. Superimposed on their surface are smaller secondary dunes which are commonly seen on terrestrial dunes of this size. Near the crests of the dark dunes are bright patches of frost. Dark spots within the frost patches are areas where defrosting is occurring.

Many smaller and brighter bed forms, most likely small dunes or granule ripples, cover the substrate between the larger dark dunes as well as most of the floor of Proctor Crater. In many locations, large boulders are seen on the same surfaces as the bright bed forms. The dark dunes stratigraphically overlie the small bright bed forms indicating that the darker dunes formed more recently.

However in several areas, the dark dunes appear to influence the orientation of the small bright dunes, possibly by wind flowing around the larger dunes, suggesting that both dark and bright bed forms are coeval.

Written by: Maria Banks  (21 February 2007)
Acquisition date
03 February 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
251.8 km (156.5 miles)

Original image scale range
25.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~76 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
71°, with the Sun about 19° above the horizon

Solar longitude
177.7°, Northern Summer

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  31.1°
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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.