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Drainage out of a Martian crater

Drainage out of a Martian crater
Click for full image.

Today’s cool image to the right, rotated, cropped, reduced, and sharpened to post here, not only gives us another example of a Martian geological feature that is unique to Mars and whose origins are not yet understood, it also shows what appears to have once been a lake-filled crater that over time drained out to the east through a gap.

This picture was taken on October 14, 2022 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The inexplicable geology is called brain terrain, and it fills the floor of the crater on the picture’s left side. The rim shows a gap, from which a meandering channel continues downhill to the east. The lake inside the crater might not have been liquid water, but ice. The channel might not have been formed by flowing water, but by a glacial flow downhill.

What makes this glacial evidence especially interesting is that it is located in a very different part of the Martian mid-latitudes.

Overview map

The white dot near the center bottom of the overview map to the right marks this crater’s location. It is about 1,000 miles south of Valles Marineris, and forty miles to the east of a valley tributary system called Warrego Valles, its dendritic flow pattern draining to the south.

The latitude is 42 degrees south, well within the mid-latitude bands where glacial ice has been frequently found. Unlike most of the other mid-latitude glacial regions, this one is at a much higher elevation, about 12,000 to 15,000 feet higher. That fact must certainly play a part in changing its geological history, but the specifics are unclear.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

One comment

  • Max

    The floor of the crater is evidence that Martians love corn mazes. Although I don’t see a way out, the hills and valleys seem to form some kind of language or hieroglyphics…
    Future Martian amusement park.

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