Tithonium Chasma in perspective, looking east
These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, show the western end of the Valles Marineris Canyon system on Mars.
The images were taken during orbit 442 with a ground resolution of approximately 52 metres per pixel. The displayed region is located at the beginning of the canyon system at about latitude 7° South and longitude 269° East. The images show the western end of the canyons Tithonium Chasma and Ius Chasma, part of the Valles Marineris canyon system, which are up to 5.5 kilometres deep.
The whole canyon system itself is the result of a variety of geological processes. Probably tectonic rifting, water and wind action, volcanism and glacial activity all have played major roles in its formation and evolution. The canyon floors are covered by a dark, layered material, the so-called ‘Interior Layered Deposits’. These deposits are marked by a system of polygonal cracks through which the underlying, lighter-coloured rock can be seen. The Interior Layered Deposits are still a major topic of research. Parts of the deposits are most probably volcanic, while in other areas a sedimentary origin has been proposed.
Guido de Marchi | alfa
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