Canyons on Mars are much larger than the Grand Canyon on Earth

martian cannons
Mars’ canyon system could have been formed by shifting Martian tectonic plates | Photo: The European Space Agency (ESA)

The cannons of Valles Marineris cross the surface of Tuesdayin the same way as the Grand Canyon of Arizona does it in the Landwith the difference that the latter is tiny compared to its Martian counterpart, as revealed by the images of the Seas Orbiter Express.

How long are the cannons on Mars?

According to a report from the European Space Agency (ESA), the cannons of mars measure 4 thousand kilometers long, 200 wide and up to 7 km deep, which is equivalent to the distance from the extreme north of Norway to the extreme south of Sicily.

“There is another big difference between the two: while the Grand Canyon was formed when the Colorado River eroded the rock, Valles Marineris is thought to have formed through the separation of tectonic plates.”

European Space Agency

How is the Valles Marineris system formed?

The cannons recently photographed by Mars Express Orbiter It is characterized by two main trenches, the right chasm of 840 kilometers and the tithonian chasma of 804 kilometers. The trenches are more than 4 miles deep in places.

The area of ​​the chasms was imaged by the orbiter’s high-resolution stereo camera on April 21, in what was the spacecraft’s 23,123rd orbit around Tuesday. The orbiter took true color images of the cannonsshowing us what the structures would look like to the naked eye.

at the top of tithonian chasmaa patch of dark sand adds color contrast to the landscape of Tuesday. This sand may have come from the nearby volcanic region of tarshish.

What are the gigantic canyons of Mars like?

Alongside the dark sand dunes are two light-toned mounds. These ‘mounds’ are like mountains, rising to more than 3 thousand meters in height. The surfaces of cannons have been heavily eroded by the strong winds of Tuesdayindicating that they are made of weaker material than the surrounding rock.

Between the two mounds is a series of smaller bulges. The investigations carried out by Mars Express Sulfate minerals containing water have been found in this region. This suggests that these bulges may have formed when the liquid that once filled the chasm evaporated.

In the lower right part of the mound that we see completely, parallel lines and piles of debris are visible, indicating a recent landslide. This is also visible as a large purple area on a topographic image of the cannons of marspublished by the THIS.

Theories of scientists indicate that the Martian landslide was caused by the collapse of the canyon wall tithonian chasmaand it probably happened relatively recently because it hasn’t been eroded much.

The twisted ground right chasm it is equally fascinating. As the tectonic plates moved apart, they seem to have caused irregular triangles of rock to form that look like a row of shark teeth. Over time, these rock formations have collapsed and eroded.

The discoveries of the Mars Express Orbiter

Mars Express has orbited Tuesday since 2003 and has captured breathtaking views of the planet’s geological features from above. The satellite is also responsible for studying the Martian atmosphere and mapping the mineral composition of the planet.

The orbiter not only captured the cannons of marsit has also looked below the surface of the planet, thanks to its MARSIS instrument; Those observations have shed light on what lies below the Martian south pole.