It is on the red planet, more magnificent than the planets on earth. The impressive Melas Chasma Canyon is 9,000 m high and is located on the edge of the Martian plateau.
The Grand Canyon of Colorado is one of the natural wonders where we live. It is 446 kilometers long and the maximum canyon height is 1500 meters. On Mars, things get more difficult.
Melas Chasma is located in Valles Marinerises, the name of a huge canyon system that extends along the planet’s equator to the east of the Talsis region.
Its size is huge. It is 4,500 kilometers long, 200 kilometers wide and 11 kilometers deep.Covers a quarter of the circumference of the earth’s equator
The length of Valles Marineris is ten times, seven times and seven times the length of the Arizona Grand Canyon.
From coast to coast, it covers more areas throughout the United States. This is the largest known geographical rift in the solar system so far.
The landslide affected thousands of cubic kilometers of material. Traces indicate that some reached below the plain and were washed away by the current.
Melas Chasma: The Martian Cannon
It is part of the so-called Valles Marineris Rift Valley that stretches for 4000 kilometers.
Around Melas Chasma, there is a lot of evidence that water has flowed through Mars in the past. In addition to ancient flooding channels, there are also light-colored sulphate deposits, which may have been deposited in ancient lakes.
The sides of the valley show evidence of many large landslides, which formed huge fan-shaped materials. In sharp contrast to the smoother underlying surface seen in the basin, these fragments look rough and messy. The rocks show a flowing texture, indicating that they have been deposited by liquid water, ice water or mud. Here, you can also see the sediment embankment.
The elevation of the Melas Chasma region on Mars
The difference from the floor on the left of the image to the plateau on the right is more than 9 km. But how do you measure the elevation on Mars? On earth, we use sea level. For Mars, planetary scientists have derived the average shape and size of planets based on observations from spacecraft. They call this “areoid” and equate its surface with sea level.
In the case of Melas Chasma, the deepest part of the canyon is 5 kilometers below the asteroid, and the surrounding altitude rises above 4 kilometers.
On the plateau at the top of the cliff, some ancient valleys are preserved. The largest direction is parallel to the edge of the cliff, which may indicate that the valley originally followed an ancient fault line. The remaining faults may be the main cause of lateral instability, which often collapses to form larger landslides.
These images were taken from the “Mars Express” rover in 2006 European Space Agency (that)