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Deformation Bands in Martian Bedrock
deformation bands in Martian bedrock

Dense clusters of crack-like structures called deformation bands form the linear ridges prominent in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Deformation bands form when sections of rock slide past each other and are similar to faults, such as the much larger San Andreas Fault in southern California. The discovery of deformation bands in HiRISE images advances understanding of how underground fractures would have affected the distribution and availability of ancient groundwater on Mars.

The camera took this image of layered rocks inside a crater in the Arabia Terra region of Mars on Feb. 13, 2007. The site is at 6.6 degrees north latitude, 14.1 degrees east longitude. Illumination is from the left. North is toward the top. The ground covered in this image spans about 150 meters (about 500 feet) east to west. This false-color image is a portion of HiRISE observation PSP_002574_1865. Additional image products from that observation are available at

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. HiRISE is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the instrument was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp., Boulder, Colo.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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