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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Channels and glaciers of Ismeniae Fossae, Mars

Filed under pretty pictures, Mars Express, Mars, hydrology

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Channels and glaciers of Ismeniae Fossae, Mars This Mars Express HRSC view of Ismeniae Fossae, Mars shows the many ways that water has shaped the Martian surface. The large channels were originally cut by water, but have since been reshaped by the activity of slow-moving ice, coated with dust and rock.

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Here is the caption from the ESA website:

This scene shows a section of Ismeniae Fossae that straddles the southern highlands–northern lowlands of Mars. The 2 km-wide curvilinear trough that runs through this image contains numerous parallel grooves and ridges comprising material from the trough walls and material that has been dragged along the floor by ancient glaciers and ice-rich flows.

In the left portion of the scene the channel truncates a roughly 25 km-wide crater. Material in the crater walls has slumped down into the channel, smoothing over the grooved floor.

Around this crater, and elsewhere in Ismeniae Fossae, clusters of circular to elliptical, partially interconnected depressions are observed. These may be either secondary impact craters from debris flung out by larger impact craters, or collapse pits caused by the sublimation of subsurface ice.

The western portion of the 138 km-wide Moreux Crater is seen in the bottom right of the image. Numerous small dendritic valley systems west of the crater provide further evidence of water flowing in this region at some point in the Red Planet’s past, perhaps as water melting from the ice thought to have once covered this region.

The image was taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA’s Mars Express on 16 June 2013 (orbit 11709), with a ground resolution of about 20 m per pixel. The image centre is at approximately 40°N / 42°E.

Anaglyph, topographic, and perspective views of the same region are available here.

Original image data dated on or about June 16, 2013.

Some ESA images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO license, as explained here.


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