This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the western rim of a well-preserved 8.5-kilometer (about 5 miles) diameter impact crater.
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Slumping Terraces on a Crater Wall

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This image shows the western rim of a well-preserved 8.5-kilometer (about 5 miles) diameter impact crater.

The wall features a slumped terrace that extends all the way around the crater diameter (the adjacent image shows the rest of the terrace). This slumped terrace, a result of the crater formation process, gives the crater a concentric ringed appearance.

Terraces are an expected feature in Martian craters of this size or larger, as the material strength of the surface is overcome by the force of all-of-the-sudden-missing mass. Blocks of rock slump down the steep crater walls and slide inward (by contrast, terraces in smaller craters are often the product of an impact of an object into a surface with layers of differing material strength. See PIA17631).

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image details

ID#:
PIA17917

Date added:
2014-04-09

Target:
Mars

Mission:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Spacecraft:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Instruments:
High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)

Rating:



Views:
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Full-Res TIFF:
PIA17917.tif (5.19 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA17917.jpg (0.68 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona