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Cratered terrain in Terra Meridiani
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Cratered terrain in Terra Meridiani

October 7, 2009
This THEMIS visible image shows a region in Terra Meridiani. An old, heavily degraded channel can be seen from the lower (southern) portion of the image toward the top. This channel appears to terminate abruptly at the rim of a 10 km diameter crater. This apparent "superposition" of the crater on top of the channel suggests that the impact crater was created after the channel was formed. This crater has two 3-km sized blocks of material that have slumped off from the lower left segment of the original crater rim. These immense blocks must have moved as a single unit because the rock layers that can be seen in the original wall of the crater can still be seen in these detached blocks. The walls of several craters in this image show vague hints of possible gully formation at the bottom of pronounced rock layers, with the suggestion of alcoves above the individual gullies. Well-developed gullies that were imaged by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on Mars Global Surveyor have been suggested to form by seepage and runoff of a fluid. The MOC has observed these gullies in numerous craters and channels further south, but they are uncommon at latitudes this close to the equator. Several sections of the crater walls appear to have ridges and troughs formed by the dry avalanche of loose rock, and a similar process of dry avalanche may account for the gullies seen in this THEMIS image. Patches of lighter material, possibly small dunes ripples, can be seen in several places throughout this image.

This region is far to the south of the Opportunity landing site.