Complex Dunes in Kaiser Crater
Complex Dunes in Kaiser Crater
PSP_006609_1330  Science Theme: Rocks and Regolith
This subimage shows in detail dunes in the floor of Kaiser Crater, a large impact structure in the Southern highlands. It is approximately 200 kilometers in diameter and more than 1,000 meters deep.

The color subset shows a group of north-south trending longitudinal dunes that become sinuous towards the east. The crests of these dunes can be followed along many hundreds of meters. A second set of smaller longitudinal dunes is also apparent in the image; they are on the order of 70 meters long and run approximately perpendicular to the first set. A look at the location shows that all these longitudinal dunes are, themselves, on the upwind side of a larger dune, almost 1,000 meters long.

Dunes form when loose sand-sized materials are transported and deposited by a moving fluid, in this case wind. The present atmosphere of Mars is more than 100 times thinner than that of Earth. As a consequence, it is much more difficult for wind to move sand particles on Mars than it is on Earth. The dunes at Kaiser Crater must have formed under winds much stronger than those responsible for building similar dunes on our planet. Alternatively, they may have formed during a time when the Martian atmosphere was thicker.

Written by: Sara Martinez-Alonso  (3 March 2008)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_050229_1330.
Acquisition date
24 December 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
250.8 km (155.9 miles)

Original image scale range
25.1 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~75 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
61°, with the Sun about 29° above the horizon

Solar longitude
7.3°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  48.4°
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RGB color
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Full resolution JP2 download
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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.