The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) delivers again! With its advanced imaging instrument, the HiRISE camera (High Resolution Imaging Experiment), the orbiter captured a breathtaking image (see below) of the plains north of Juventae Chasma.
This region forms the southwestern part of Valles Marineris, the gigantic canyon system that runs along the equator of Mars.
The picture was originally taken by the HiRISE camera in July 2007 and shows three different types of terrain. In the upper half of the picture there are levels with craters and sinuous comb features.
These features are of particular interest because they could be inverted current channels that are known to occur when a deep region is raised.
There are several reasons why a sewer could stand out in its environment, all of which are due to erosion.
For example, these channels may be formed from rocks larger than their surroundings, may have been river beds cemented by precipitating minerals, or may have been filled with lava at some point.
All of these materials are more resistant to erosion, which means that they stay and appear elevated after more fine-grained material is removed by wind or water. Other features include layers with exposed layers and layers on the wall of the Juventae Chasma Canyon.
Here, too, we see signs of erosion, in which light and dark layers with a diameter of about 1 km have been exposed.
This is made clearer in another HiRISE image of the adjacent site (see below), in which these spots cover two thirds of the left half of the image.
Here we see a series of concentric rings that expose ever deeper layers of material, the smallest of which is the deepest exposed layer.
While stratified terrain is common in Mars Gorges, it is not currently known what processes are behind its creation. However, it is believed that the layers in the plains are likely to be made of the same material as the layer in the canyons.
If you learn more about these features and how they came about, you will inevitably learn more about the geological history of Mars.
Further reading: University of Arizona / LPL
This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.