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Band of Bright Rock

Band of Bright Rock

Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Cornell

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA09695


This image, presented in false color to accentuate differences in surface materials, was captured by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows "Cape St. Vincent." It is one of the many promontories that jut out from the walls of Victoria Crater on Mars.

The material at the top of the promontory consists of loose, jumbled rock, then a bit further down into the crater, abruptly transitions to solid bedrock. This transition point is marked by a bright band of rock, visible around the entire crater.

The upper portion of the crater wall contains a jumble of material tossed outward by the impact that excavated the crater. Near the base of the Cape St. Mary cliff are layers with a pattern called "crossbedding," intersecting with each other at angles, rather than parallel to each other. Large-scale crossbedding can result from material being deposited as wind-blown dunes.

Scientists say this bright band represents what used to be the surface of Mars just before an impact formed Victoria Crater.