Layered Crater on Mars

Jul 18, 2007
Layers Exposed in Crater Near Mawrth Vallis
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona

This image covers an impact crater roughly 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) in diameter. The subimage shows just a small segment of the crater rim (1336 x 889; 3 MB).

The surface outside the crater (top) is relatively dark, while the interior wall of the crater has a lighter tone. 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 light-toned material making up the crater wall is finely layered and fractured in places. The layers may be part of a sedimentary or volcanic ash deposit that became indurated (cemented and solidified) prior to the impact that formed the crater. The impact has revealed layers that were previously buried beneath the Martian surface, similar to the craters explored by the Opportunity rover in Meridiani Planum. These craters are windows into the Martian subsurface.

Just 30 kilometers (20 miles) to the east of this crater lies Mawrth Vallis, an ancient outflow channel that may have been carved by catastrophic floods. The orbiting spectrometers OMEGA (on Mars Express) and CRISM (on MRO) have detected clay minerals in layered deposits in and around Mawrth Vallis. These minerals, which require water to form, are likely present in the layered bedrock exposed in this crater wall. The crater may thus provide a glimpse into an intriguing period of Martian history, when liquid water may have been more abundant at or near the Martian surface than it is today.

Source: NASA

Explore further: SpaceX launches supplies to space station

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Curiosity Mars rover finds sandstone variations

Mar 25, 2014

(Phys.org) —Variations in the stuff that cements grains together in sandstone have shaped the landscape surrounding NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and could be a study topic at the mission's next science waypoint.

Curiosity crosses Dingo Gap dune

Feb 10, 2014

NASA's Curiosity mega rover has successfully crossed over the 'Dingo Gap' sand dune- opening the gateway to the science rich targets in the "Moonlight Valley" and Martian mountain beyond.

An Opportunity for life: Finding Mars' most liveable mud

Jan 24, 2014

Coinciding with ten years of the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project, research published today in Science has found some of the oldest evidence of past water on Mars – and confirmed it was ideal to nurture life ...

Recommended for you

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

20 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

22 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

23 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

Apr 18, 2014

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...