The layered sedimentary deposits inside the giant canyons of Mars have puzzled scientists for decades. These light toned deposits have fine, horizontal laminations that are unlike the rugged rim rock of the Valles Marineris.
Various ideas for the origin of the layered sediments have suggested lake deposits, wind blown dust and sand, or volcanic materials that erupted after the canyon was formed, and possibly filled with water.
One particular layered deposit, called Ceti Mensa, attracted attention because its deep red color in images collected by the Viking Orbiter mission during the 1970s. Located in west Candor Chasma in the north of the Valles Marineris, Ceti Mensa is an undulating plateau that rises 3 kilometers above the canyon floor and is bounded by steep scarps up to 1.5 kilometers in height. Deep red hues are on the west-facing scarp in particular. The red tint may be due to the presence of crystalline ferric oxide, suggesting that the material may have been exposed to heat or water, or both. [More at link]