Chasm in Gale Crater
Chasm in Gale Crater's Interior Mound
PSP_006855_1750  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
Gale Crater is a large (152 kilometer diameter) crater in the cratered highlands of Mars near the highland/lowland divide. The crater contains a large central mound of layered, or stratified, material that is more than 2 kilometers thick in some places.

Visible in this image is a deep chasm cutting through these layers, which are spectacularly exposed in the chasm walls. On the floor of this chasm is a sinuous, positive-relief feature that may be an inverted channel deposit. Inverted channels occur when sediment in a stream hardens and becomes cemented in place due to water-deposited minerals. After the flow ceased, later erosion removed the surrounding softer rock, leaving the cemented channel deposit as a positive rather than a negative relief feature.

This chasm may actually be classified as a canyon, which is specifically a chasm or gorge that was carved by running water.

Written by: Brad Thomson  (19 March 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_007501_1750.
Acquisition date
12 January 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
269.9 km (167.7 miles)

Original image scale range
27.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~82 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
41°, with the Sun about 49° above the horizon

Solar longitude
16.5°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  21.8°
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IRB color
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Black and white
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non-map           (615MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (464MB)

Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
map-projected  (261MB)

RGB color
non map           (441MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
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IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

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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.