Do these valleys on Mars come from gushes of water from past rainfall, or groundwater springs, or could they have possibly been formed from magma flows on Mars surface? That’s the debate surrounding the many valleys, chasms and dry gullies found on the Red Planet.
The majority of planetary geologists seem to favor the idea of water flowing on Mars surface in the past. The images shown here of Echus Chasma are from the European Space Agency’s Mar’s Express, and its High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). Echus Chasma is believed to be one of the largest water source regions on the Red Planet. The valleys, cut into the landscape look similar to drainage networks found on Earth.
The image here has a ground resolution of approximately 17 m/pixel, and is so clear and distinct it almost makes you feel like you’re there!
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Echus Chasma is approximately 100 km long and 10 km wide. Echus Chasma is believed to be the water source region that formed Kasei Valles, a large valley which extends thousands of kilometers to the north. It’s located in the Lunae Planum high plateau, north of Valles Marineris â€“ the Grand Canyon of Mars. This image indicates elevation data, also obtained by the HRSC.
An impressive cliff, up to 4000 m high, is located in the eastern part of Echus Chasma. Possibly, gigantic water falls may once have plunged over these cliffs on to the valley floor. The remarkably smooth valley floor was later flooded by basaltic lava.
The smaller valleys, also called sapping canyons, are believed to originate from the discharge of groundwater.
Original News Source: ESA