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Black and white nadir view of grabens in Tempe Terra
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Black and white nadir view of grabens in Tempe Terra

May 15, 2006
The Tempe Terra region of Mars displays a complex geologic history. This black and white image was taken just west of the Barabashov crater and covers the transition zone between the old Martian highlands to the south and the geologically younger northern lowlands.

The scene, caught by the HRSC camera on board ESA's Mars Express, shows valleys and grabens 5 to 10 kilometres wide and up to 1500 meters deep. The lineations on the valley floors are attributed to a slow viscous movement of material, presumably in connection with ice. These lineations and indications of possible ice underneath the surface lead scientists to assume that the structures are rock glaciers or similar phenomena known from alpine regions on Earth.


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