Sirenum Fossae - False Color

Scaled Image

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

About this image

The THEMIS VIS camera contains 5 filters. The data from different filters can be combined in multiple ways to create a false color image. These false color images may reveal subtle variations of the surface not easily identified in a single band image. Today's false color image shows part of Sirenum Fossae. The linear depressions in this VIS image are tectonic graben. Graben are formed by extension of the crust and faulting. When large amounts of pressure or tension are applied to rocks on timescales that are fast enough that the rock cannot respond by deforming, the rock breaks along faults. In the case of a graben, two parallel faults are formed by extension of the crust and the rock in between the faults drops downward into the space created by the extension. Several graben are visible in this THEMIS VIS image, trending from north-northeast to south-southwest. Because the faults defining the graben are formed parallel to the direction of the applied stress, we know that extensional forces were pulling the crust apart in the west-northwest/east-southeast direction. The Sirenum Fossae graben are 2735km (1700 miles) long.

The THEMIS VIS camera is capable of capturing color images of the Martian surface using five different color filters. In this mode of operation, the spatial resolution and coverage of the image must be reduced to accommodate the additional data volume produced from using multiple filters. To make a color image, three of the five filter images (each in grayscale) are selected. Each is contrast enhanced and then converted to a red, green, or blue intensity image. These three images are then combined to produce a full color, single image. Because the THEMIS color filters don't span the full range of colors seen by the human eye, a color THEMIS image does not represent true color. Also, because each single-filter image is contrast enhanced before inclusion in the three-color image, the apparent color variation of the scene is exaggerated. Nevertheless, the color variation that does appear is representative of some change in color, however subtle, in the actual scene. Note that the long edges of THEMIS color images typically contain color artifacts that do not represent surface variation.

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


Image ID: 
V83755003 (View data in Mars Image Explorer)
2020-10-31 16:02
Mon, 2021-11-29
512 pixels (17 km)
1824 pixels (62 km)
0.034312 km/pixel
0.0344086 km/pixel


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