NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the surface outside this large crater is relatively dark, while the interior wall of the crater exposes lighter, layered bedrock of diverse colors.
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Layers Exposed in Crater Near Mawrth Vallis

This image covers an impact crater roughly 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) in diameter. The portion highlighted shows a one kilometer segment of the crater wall and rim.

The surface outside the crater is relatively dark, while the interior wall of the crater exposes lighter, layered bedrock of diverse colors. A few dark patches on the crater wall have small dunes or ripples on their surfaces, and are likely pits filled with dark sand. The crater provides a window into the subsurface of Mars, revealing layered sedimentary deposits.

Just 30 kilometers (20 miles) to the East of this crater lies Mawrth Vallis, an ancient channel that may have been carved by catastrophic floods. In layered deposits surrounding Mawrth Vallis, the orbiting spectrometers OMEGA (on Mars Express) and CRISM (on MRO) have detected phyllosilicate (clay) minerals, which must have formed in the presence of water. In this region on Mars, the colors of layers seen by HiRISE often correlate with distinct water-bearing minerals observed by CRISM, so the color diversity seen here may reflect a dynamic environment at this location on early Mars.

Note: the color in these images is enhanced; it is not as it would normally appear to the human eye.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the instrument was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo.

Originally released October 10, 2007

Image details

ID#:
PIA13726

Date added:
2011-01-12

Target:
Mars

Mission:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Spacecraft:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Instruments:
High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)

Rating:



Views:
3,711

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA13726.tif (14.76 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA13726.jpg (0.65 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona