Differential Erosion in Martian Sandstones

  • Released Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sandstone layers with varying resistance to erosion are evident in this Martian scene recorded by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. The component images were taken by the Mastcam's left-eye camera shortly before midday of the 553rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Feb. 25, 2014). The location is about one-quarter mile (about 400 meters) north-northwest of a planned waypoint called "the Kimberley," by straight-line distance, longer by driving distance.
Differing degrees of resistance to erosion result in a stair-stepped pattern visible here. Steeper steps result from more resistant rock, so the flat, tan surface is a weakly resistant sandstone. The small steps to the right center are a bit more resistant, and the steeper steps near the top of the scene are even more resistant.
The image has been white-balanced to show what the rocks would look like if they were on Earth.

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This page was originally published on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
This page was last updated on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 12:26 AM EST.


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