Light-Toned Layering along Plains South of Ius Chasma
NASA/JPL/UArizona
Light-Toned Layering along Plains South of Ius Chasma
PSP_005149_1715  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy

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Light-toned layering can be seen throughout this image taken along the plains south of Ius Chasma in Valles Marineris.

A portion of one of the troughs of Ius Chasma is visible in the lower right of the image. The layering is exposed where a meters-thick darker unit has been eroded away, suggesting the light-toned layered deposit is more extensive in area than what is visible by exposures along the plains.

The layering could have formed by several processes, including aeolian (wind-blown), fluvial (water-lain), and volcanism. If aeolian, then the material must be located elsewhere on Mars where it was eroded and then subsequently deposited by the wind here along the plains. A fluvial origin implies there was water activity that deposited the light-toned material, although there is no evidence for fluvial activity at this location. Explosive volcanism is a likely process that would have occurred in association with the emplacement of the darker lava flows that make up the plains.

The morphology of the light-toned layering is unlike that seen within Valles Marineris and indicates different processes operated along the plains compared to those that emplaced the deposits within the troughs.

Written by: Cathy  (12 September 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_005215_1715.
 
Acquisition date
01 September 2007

Local Mars time
14:18

Latitude (centered)
-8.364°

Longitude (East)
275.092°

Spacecraft altitude
258.2 km (160.4 miles)

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

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Emission angle
4.8°

Phase angle
40.1°

Solar incidence angle
36°, with the Sun about 54° above the horizon

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306.2°, Northern Winter

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  342.9°
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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.