NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Exposures of light-toned, layered, sedimentary rocks are common in the deep troughs of the Valles Marineris system. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows an example from western Tithonium Chasma. The banding seen here is an eroded expression of layered rock. Sedimentary rocks can be composed of (1) the detritus of older, eroded and weathered rocks, (2) grains produced by explosive volcanism (tephra, also known as volcanic ash), or (3) minerals that were chemically precipitated out of a body of liquid such as water. These outcrops are located near 4.8°S, 89.7°W. The image covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated from the lower left.
Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, California. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, California and Denver, Colorado.