Stair-Stepped Mounds in Meridiani Planum
Stair-Stepped Mounds in Meridiani Planum
PSP_008930_1880  Science Theme: Tectonic Processes
This image shows layered sedimentary rocks that fill an impact crater in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars.

These layered rocks may have formed through the accumulation of sediment (sand and dust) that were transported into this crater by blowing wind or flowing water. These sediments formed an extensive deposit that once covered the floor of the surrounding impact crater.

This crater is so large that the HiRISE image is entirely within it, and the crater rim is not visible. These sedimentary rocks were then eroded, likely by the wind. The original sand and dust were deposited in distinct layers within the crater; these layers now give the mounds their distinctive stair-stepped appearance, and are all that remain from this once extensive deposit.

Written by: Chris Okubo  (30 July 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_008205_1880.
Acquisition date
22 June 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
273.6 km (170.0 miles)

Original image scale range
28.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~85 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
50°, with the Sun about 40° above the horizon

Solar longitude
88.7°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  98°
Sub-solar azimuth:  33.3°
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non-map           (540MB)

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non-map           (429MB)

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RGB color
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Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page


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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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/JPL/University of Arizona

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.