THEMIS: Rubble piles in Candor Chasma

Rubble piles in Candor Chasma (THEMIS_IOTD_20180119)THEMIS Image of the Day, January 19, 2018. This image shows part of eastern Candor Chasma. At the top of the image is the steep cliff between the upper surface elevation and the depths of Candor Chasma.

The bottom of the image is the cliff side of a large mesa. The two cliff faces have very different appearances. The cliff face between the top of the canyon and the bottom is likely layers of volcanic flows from the nearby Tharsis volcanoes. The mesa, however, is probably layers of sediments deposited in the canyon from wind, water and gravity driven erosion and deposition. These layered materials are much more easily eroded than the solid rock of the canyon sides.

There is a landslide that originate from the northern cliff face and ran out into the canyon floor, visible as the lobate “tongue” at the right near the center of the image.

Candor Chasma is one of the largest canyons that make up Valles Marineris. It is approximately 810 km long (503 miles) and has is divided into two regions – eastern and western Candor. Candor is located south of Ophir Chasma and north of Melas Chasma. The border with Melas Chasma contains many large landslide deposits. The floor of Candor Chasma includes a variety of landforms, including layered deposits, dunes, landslide deposits and steep sided cliffs and mesas. Many forms of erosion have shaped Chandor Chasma. There is evidence of wind and water erosion, as well as significant gravity driven mass wasting (landslides).

NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has spent over 15 years in orbit around Mars, circling the planet more than 69,000 times. It holds the record for longest working spacecraft at Mars. THEMIS, the IR/VIS camera system, has collected data for the entire mission and provides images covering all seasons and lighting conditions.

Over the years many features of interest have received repeated imaging, building up a suite of images covering the entire feature. From the deepest chasma to the tallest volcano, individual dunes inside craters and dune fields that encircle the north pole, channels carved by water and lava, and a variety of other feature, THEMIS has imaged them all.

For the next several months the Image of the Day will focus on the Tharsis volcanoes, the various chasmata of Valles Marineris, and the major dune fields. We hope you enjoy these images!

More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.

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