PIA19069: Bedding Pattern Interpreted as Martian Delta Deposition
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
 Spacecraft:  Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
 Instrument:  Mastcam
 Product Size:  4657 x 1024 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Malin Space Science Systems
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA19069.tif (14.31 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA19069.jpg (1.16 MB)

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Figure 1
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This view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover looks southward at the Kimberley waypoint. In the foreground, multiple sandstone beds show systematic inclination to the south suggesting progressive build-out of the sediments toward Mount Sharp.

At this location, about a mile (1.6 kilometer) north of the base of Mount Sharp, these inclined beds can be traced up to about 100 yards or meters in the direction of build-out. These inclined beds are interpreted as small deltas building out into a shallow lake. As sediment-laden river water encountered a standing body of water, the river current was forced to abruptly decelerate, leading to rapid deposition of sediment at the river mouth. This deposition led to formation of a delta. Continued supply of sediment by rivers flowing from the crater rim led to deltas building out into the lake towards the south.

The Mastcam's left-eye camera recorded the component frames of this mosaic on March 25, 2014, during the 580th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars. The color has been approximately white-balanced to resemble how the scene would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth. Figure 1 is a version with a superimposed scale bar of 50 centimeters (about 20 inches) in the foreground and a scale bar of 3 meters (about 10 feet) at upper right.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the rover's Mastcam.

More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.

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