On The Edge
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On The Edge

April 9, 2014
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows the edge (running diagonally from the lower left to the upper right) of a trough, which is part of a large pit crater complex in Noachis Terra. This type of trough forms through the collapse of surface materials into the subsurface, and often begins as a series of individual pit craters. Over time, continued collapse increases the diameter of individual pits until finally, adjacent pits merge to form a trough such as the one captured in this image. The deep shadowed area is caused in part by an overhang; layered rock beneath this overhang is less resistant to erosion, and thus has retreated tens of meters backward, beneath the overhang. A person could walk up inside this "cave" formed by the overhanging layered material.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

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