Aram Chaos on Mars

Article written: 1 Jun , 2006
Updated: 29 Mar , 2013

This false colour image, taken by ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, shows the heavily eroded Aram Chaos region on Mars. The region is a 280-km (174-mile) wide circular structure located between two outflow channels. Scientists think that the eastern portion of the nearby Valles Marineris was responsible for torrents of ice and water that chopped up the landscape millions of years ago.

These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, show Aram Chaos, 280-km-wide circular structure characterized by chaotic terrain.

The HRSC obtained these images during orbit 945 with a ground resolution of approximately 14 metres per pixel. The images show the region of Aram Chaos, at approximately 2 North and 340 East.

Aram Chaos is a 280-km-wide almost-circular structure located between the outflow channel Ares Vallis and Aureum Chaos. It is one of many regions located east of Valles Marineris and characterized by chaotic terrain.

As the name ‘chaos’ suggests, this terrain comprises large-scale remnant massifs, large relief masses that have been moved and weathered as a block. These are heavily eroded and dominate the circular morphology, or structure, which may have formed during an impact. As seen in the colour image, these remnant massifs range from a few kilometres to approximately ten kilometres wide and have a relative elevation of roughly 1000 metres.

The western region of the colour image is characterized by brighter material, which seems to be layered and could be the result of sedimentary deposition. Distinct layering, causing a terrace-like appearance, is also visible east of this brighter material and in the relatively flat region located in the northwest of the colour image.

***image4:left***Some scientists believe that the numerous chaotic regions located in the eastern part of Valles Marineris were the source of water or ice thought to have created the valleys that extend into Chryse Planitia. These regions are particularly interesting because they may yield clues to the relationship between Valles Marineris, the chaotic terrain, the valleys and the Chryse basin.

The colour scenes have been derived from the three HRSC-colour channels and the nadir channel. The perspective view has been calculated from the digital terrain model derived from the stereo channels. The anaglyph image was calculated from the nadir and one stereo channel.

Original Source: ESA Mars Express

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