Science and Exploration

Star Dunes in Tyrrhena Terra, Mars

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
March 24, 2022
Filed under ,
Star Dunes in Tyrrhena Terra, Mars
Star Dunes in Tyrrhena Terra

An amazing aspect of Mars that is captured in many HiRISE images is geologic diversity within a small area.
This image, of a crater in the Tyrrhena Terra region, was targeted to look at the geologic aspects of possible clays detected with the CRISM instrument.

Fortuitously, a beautiful set of star dunes are visible on the western edge of a small crater within the larger target crater. Star dunes form when sand is blown by winds coming from multiple directions, which is common in craters. This results in intersecting dunes, forming a polygonal, or “star” pattern.

The dune sands are most likely made of basalt, a common volcanic rock. The possible clay-bearing material is probably within the surrounding bedrock.

Image is less than 5 km (3 mi) across and is 257.2 km (159.8 miles) above the surface. For full images including scale bars, visit the source link.

NASA/JPL/UArizona larger image

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.