Mound of Layers in East Candor Chasma
Mound of Layers in East Candor Chasma
PSP_006968_1735  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
This image shows the northern portion of east Candor Chasma, part of the Valles Marineris canyon system. In the center of the image is a light-toned mound that has dozens of layers exposed along its edge. As the upper layers weather and break apart into smaller grains, these grains subsequently fall down the edge, burying layers beneath and producing triangular-shaped debris aprons.

The color image of the mound doesn’t show any significant color variations between the different layers. However, another instrument on MRO called CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars) has observed compositional differences between the layers and these results have been helpful in deciphering the origin of these layers.

This deposit is one of several examples exhibiting sulfate-rich layers with alternating hydration states. Cliff-forming kieserite-rich layers alternate with slope-forming polyhydrated sulfate layers. (Kieserite is a mineral containing magnesium). The apparent lack of slumping, channels, cross-bedding or bed truncation supports quiescent water or deposition from the air as the most likely origin for the layers.

Written by: Cathy  (27 February 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_007179_1735.
Acquisition date
21 January 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
267.5 km (166.2 miles)

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

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25 cm/pixel and North is up

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42°, with the Sun about 48° above the horizon

Solar longitude
20.7°, Northern Spring

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North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  26.4°
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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.