A Martian river of ice

Glacial flow on Mars?
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken on May 13, 2021 by the high resolution camea on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It spans the entire 4.7 mile width of the southern hemisphere canyon dubbed Reull Vallis. The white arrow indicates the direction of the downhill grade

The scientists title this image “Lineated Valley Fill.” The vagueness of this title is because they have not yet confirmed that this lineated valley fill is a glacier flowing downhill to the west.

Nonetheless, the material filling this valley has all the features one expects glaciers to exhibit. Not only is the the lineation aligned with the flow, it varies across the width of the canyon as glaciers normally do. At the edge the parallel grooves are depressed, probably because they are torn apart by the canyon walls as the glacier flows past. In turn, at the center of the flow the grooves are thinner and more tightly packed, and appear less disturbed. Here, the flow is smooth, less bothered by surrounding features.

This pattern also suggests the merging of two flows somewhere upstream.

A glance at the spectacular Concordia glacier in the Himalayas near the world’s second highest mountain, K2, illustrates the similarity of this Martian feature to Earth glaciers.

Reull Vallis itself flows down to Hellas Basin, the deepest basin on Mars. As it meanders downhill along its 650 mile length it steadily gets wider and less distinct as it drops into Hellas. Along its entire length MRO has photographed numerous similar examples of this lineated fill, all suggesting that under a thin layer of debris is a thick glacier, slowerly carving this canyon out.

The overview map below illustrates these facts nicely, while further reinforcing these glacial conclusions.
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A vegetable grater on Mars

A vegetable grater on Mars

Cool image time! I honestly can’t think of any better term but “vegetable grater” to describe the strange surface in the image on the right, cropped from the full sized image that was released with the July 11, 2018 monthly release of new images from the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

If you click on the image you can see the whole image, which merely shows more of the same terrain over a wider area. When I cropped it, I literally picked a random 450×450 pixel-sized area, since other than slight variations the entire terrain in the full image is as equally rough. The resolution captures objects as big as five feet across.

Looking at the full image there does seem to be flow patterns moving across the middle of the image, but if so these flow patterns had no effect on the surface roughness, other than indicating a very slight difference in the size of the knobs and pits. Overall, very strange.

The location of this place on Mars is in the cratered southern highlands, to the southwest of Hellas Basin, as indicated by the black cross in the image below.
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New images of a dry river on Mars.

New images of a dry river bed on Mars.

Reull Vallis, the river-like structure in these images, is believed to have formed when running water flowed in the distant martian past, cutting a steep-sided channel through the Promethei Terra Highlands before running on towards the floor of the vast Hellas basin. This sinuous structure, which stretches for almost [1000 miles] across the Martian landscape, is flanked by numerous tributaries, one of which can be clearly seen cutting in to the main valley towards the upper (north) side.