The Marte Vallis system, located east of Cerberus and west of Amazonis Planitia, is known for its array of broken, platy flow features. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a close-up view of some of these plates; they appear to be like puzzle pieces that have been broken apart and moved away from each other. The Mars science community has been discussing these features for the past several years--either the flows in Marte Vallis are lava flows, or mud flows. In either case, the material was very fluid and had a thin crust on its surface. As the material continued to flow through the valley system, the crust broke up into smaller plates that were then rafted some distance down the valley. This picture is located near 6.9°N, 182.8°W. It is illuminated by sunlight from the left.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
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