Dust Devils Dancing on Dunes
Dust Devils Dancing on Dunes
PSP_005383_1255  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
Dust devils make dark, diffuse scribble markings on the surface by kicking up dust, and are especially active in the summertime over dark surfaces, such as those with many deposits of sand-sized material.

The surface warms up in the sunlight, creating the right conditions to form dust devils. Mars also has larger dust storms that can deposit a thin layer of dust and eliminate the dust devil tracks.

In our cutout are portions of two HiRISE images, one acquired on 23 June 2007 before the great dust storms of that year, and this one acquired on 19 September 2007. The pattern of dust devil tracks has completely changed over just three months!

The tracks visible in the 23 June image formed in southern spring or summer of this year (2007; we have a series of images over this location), were erased by deposition from the large dust storms, and then new dust devils created the dark markings seen in the 19 September. These images show a small portion of the sand dunes in Russell Crater, which are of special interest due to the peculiar channels that formed on the steep slopes.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (3 October 2007)
Acquisition date
19 September 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
253.1 km (157.3 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

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
47°, with the Sun about 43° above the horizon

Solar longitude
316.8°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  44.5°
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   (1290MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (683MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (623MB)
non-map           (757MB)

IRB color
map projected  (268MB)
non-map           (672MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (345MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (329MB)

RGB color
non map           (681MB)
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.