Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ismeniae Fossae

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.

Photo credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

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