Crustal Fractures of Ophir Planum
October 7, 2009
This THEMIS image covers a tract of plateau territory called Ophir Planum. The most obvious features in this scene are the fractures (ranging from 1 to 5 km wide) running from the upper left to lower right. Localized rifting and deep-seated tension fracturing of the crust probably formed these cracks. The wall rock displayed in the upper part of the cliffs appears to be layered. The southwest-facing wall of the largest and upper- most fracture has classic spur and gully topography. This type of topography is created by differing amounts of erosion. Also seen in this image are some scattered impact craters and some dark wind streaks in the lower right. The Ophir Planum plateau separates two separate smaller canyon systems, not visible in this image, (Candor Chasma to the north and Melas Chasma to the south) in the Valles Marineris canyon complex. The whole Valles Marineris canyon system extends some 4,000 km across the equatorial realms of Mars. For comparison, this would stretch from New York City to San Francisco.
Topics: Valles Marineris, Planetary science, Coprates quadrangle, Ophir Chasma, Canyon, Mars, Geography, Chasma