You are wrong if you think that the largest canyon in the solar system is right here on Earth . American researchers have discovered an even longer and deeper abyss on Mars , reports Livescience.com .
Scientists at the University of Arizona, Tucson, have released new images taken by the high-resolution HiRISE camera installed on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Remember that the latter was launched in 2005 with the aim of mapping the surface of Mars. For nearly 15 years, scientists from the said university have scrutinized the images taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment in order to learn more about the relief of the red planet. On December 26, they then uploaded splendid photos of a Martian canyon.
Called Valles Marineris, the latter is much deeper and longer than the Grand Canyon located in Arizona, United States.
4000 km long
According to information provided by the team, Valles Marineris is 10 times longer than the Grand Canyon and three times as deep. More precisely, it stretches over 4000 km along the equator of Mars. These characteristics make it the largest canyon in the solar system. The other particularity of this Martian gorge lies in the way in which it was created.
Unlike the Grand Canyon, Valles Marineris does not appear to arise from runoff. According to the researchers, the Martian environment is far too dry to consider the existence of a river large enough to cross the crust millions, if not billions of years ago. However, researchers at the European Space Agency do not rule out such a possibility.
The result of volcanic activity?
They argue that the gigantic Martian canyon is probably the result of volcanic activity. It could be that part of the crust cracked when a group of volcanoes in the Tharsis region rose above the ground, they say. The magma would thus have contributed to the shaping of the landscape.
There is a theory that later landslides as well as lava and river flows allowed Valles Marineris to have the relief it has today.