An ancient mountain range on Mars preserves a complex volcanic and tectonic past imprinted with signs of water and ice interactions.
The images, taken on 9 April by the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express, show the Thaumasia mountains and Coracis Fossae, which fringe the huge Solis Planum volcanic plateau from the south.
The region lies to the south of the vast Valles Marineris canyon system and towering Tharsis volcanoes, and is strongly linked to the tectonic stresses that played out during their formation over 3.5 billion years ago.
As the Tharsis bulge swelled with magma during the planet’s first billion years, the surrounding crust was stretched, ripping apart and eventually collapsing into troughs. While Valles Marineris is one of the most extreme results, the effects are still seen even thousands of kilometres away, such as in the Coracis Fossae region observed in this image where near-parallel north–south faults are visible primarily to the left. [More at link]