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Published on April 19th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie


Planet Mars And The Valles Marineris: A Wonderland Of Canyons


The Valles Marineris On Planet  Mars

It is one of the most amazing sights in the Solar System. A wonder to behold its scale dwarfs the great canyons of the Earth by many fold. The object in question is the Valles Marineris on Planet Mars.

Planet Mars And The Valles Marineris

The most stunning feature on planet Mars is without doubt, the scarred canyons of The Valles Marineris. This landmark dwarfs the Grand Canyon by several factors.

At nearly 4,000 km (2,500 miles) in length and up to 200 km (125 miles)  in width, it possesses a size that is difficult to comprehend and this stunning complex is one of the most dominant Martian landmarks.

To put these vast measurements into perspective, if the Valles Marineris was on Earth. It would nearly be long enough to cover the entire width of the United States. The Valles Marineris runs along planet Mars’s equator.

The Valles Marineris On Planet Mars

The Formation Of The Valles Marineris

Although there is clear evidence of water that once flowed in the Valles Marineris, this is not how the canyon complex was formed. The water which left sedimentary rock was only responsible for partial erosion.

No, a much greater force was needed to carve and hew the canyon out of planet Mars’s rocky surface.

The Valles Marineris On Planet Mars

The location of the Valles Marineris provides a clue to its origin. It is located just south of the large volcano complex, the Tharsis Rise. Check out Yellow Magpie’s Mars’ Volcanoes: A Stunningly Mysterious World With Colossal Vents for a more detailed discussion of this wonder of the Solar System.

The formation of the Tharsis Rise is likely to have caused a huge fault in the crust of the surface of planet Mars. This fault forced the crust to become split, not unlike the continental plates that are slowly moving away from each other. Although, unlike the Earth, Mars doesn’t have tectonic movement.

Perhaps one day journeys to the Martian landscape will become commonplace. When this happens, the name that will be on everyone’s lips will not be The Grand Canyon but rather planet Mars’s Valles Marineris.

Highly Recommended Reading

Check out Yellow Magpie’s The Planet Mars: Our Infatuation With The Red NeighbourMars’s Moons: The Oddness Of Phobos And DeimosMars’s Volcanoes: A Stunningly Mysterious World With Colossal VentsTerraforming Mars: How To Create Another Home Planet and The Red Planet And Water: Is There Life On Mars? for more in-depth insight into the Red Planet.

You may also like to take a gander at The Solar System And Beyond: A Guide To The Cosmos.

Cosmos is a highly recommended book. It contains large, full-page pictures of planet Mars and writing on the subject by the highly competent author, Giles Sparrow.
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access: Cosmos from here.
For those who live in Canada, you can obtain: Cosmos here.
For Germany: Cosmos.
For France: Cosmos.

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