The Newton Crater is a large basin formed by an asteroid impact that probably occurred more than 3 billion years ago. It is approximately 287 kilometers (178 miles) across. The picture shown here (top) highlights the north wall of a specific, smaller crater located in the southwestern quarter of Newton Crater. The crater of interest was also formed by an impact; it is about 7 km (4.4 mi) across, which is about 7 times bigger than the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona in North America. The north wall of the small crater has many narrow gullies eroded into it. These are hypothesized to have been formed by flowing water and debris flows. Debris transported with the water created lobed and finger-like deposits at the base of the crater wall where it intersects the floor (bottom center top image). Many of the finger-like deposits have small channels indicating that a liquid, most likely water, flowed in these areas. Hundreds of individual water and debris flow events might have occurred to create the scene shown here. This image is a mosaic of three different pictures acquired between January and May 2000.
© Science & Society