Space Research & Planetary Sciences Division Web Site

<< Back to LAPIS, Laboratory for Analysis of Planetary and Interplanetary Data Sets

Banded terrains in Hellas basin, Mars


Hellas basin is a large impact basin situated in the southern highlands of Mars. The north-western part of the basin has the lowest elevation (-7.5 km) on the planet and contains a possibly unique terrain type, which we informally call “banded terrain”. It is characterized by long, often thin, adjacent ribbons up to several kilometers long, which change orientation and warp, often in conjunction with local topography.


Example of the banded terrain features (credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/X. Diot)
Compare the relatively fresh appearance of the bands with the older terrain seen to the left of this image (credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Thomas et al. 2010)

Analysis of the banded terrain architecture using a geomorphological approach

The aim of our work is to analyze and characterize the banded using both newly-acquired and currently available datasets as high-resolution images (HiRISE), CTX images, and digital terrain models (DTMs) to understand the terrain’s morphometry and geomorphology at different size-scales, and to gain an insight into its composition and depositional history. The approach chosen to carry out our study consists in a combination of mapping, morphometric analysis within GIS environments (Jmars and Arcmap), and transport modeling.


Three dimensional view of banded structures (credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/X. Diot)
3D view of banded terrains (credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/X. Diot)


Diot, X., M.R. El-Maarry, F. Schlunegger, K.P Norton, N. Thomas, and P.M. Grindrod, (2014), Banded Terrain in Hellas Basin, Mars: Results from Geomorphological Investigations and Morphometry, Planet. Space Sci., accepted, 1 July 2014

Space Research & Planetary Sciences Division Web Site