Coprates Chasma

Scaled Image

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

About this image

This image covers a portion of Coprates Chasma, which is part of the Valles Marineris system of canyons that stretch for thousands of kilometers. This image displays clearly the contrast between bedrock, sand, and dust surfaces. The steepest slopes, such as on the canyon walls, appear to be free of the mantle of dust and sand that is nearly ubiquitous elsewhere in the image. Layering is clearly present in the bedrock unit, but it is not clear if that layering is due to sedimentary deposits or volcanic lava flows. Superimposed on the slopes is a mantle of dust in a manner that appears similar to snow covered mountains on Earth. This is because in both situations, fine-grained dry, particulate material is settling on a sloped surface. Collecting in the valleys and, in some cases, climbing up the slopes are several sand sheets. The amount of cover and the apparent thickness of these sands give some indication to the huge volume of material that is collected here. The orientation of the slip faces of the dunes in this image can be used to deduce the prevalent wind patterns in the region. In this case, the prevalent wind direction is towards the east but there are areas where the winds indicate a more complex system, perhaps indicating topographic control of the local winds.

Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images. 


Image ID: 
V01301003 (View data in Mars Image Explorer)
2002-03-31 08:31
Fri, 2002-06-21
1024 pixels (17 km)
3648 pixels (63 km)
0.017426 km/pixel
0.017553 km/pixel


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