Astronomy:Candor Chasma

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Candor Chasma
Candor Chasma THEMIS mosaic.jpg
Candor Chasma in mosaic of THEMIS infrared images, with parts of Ophir, Melas and Juventae chasmata at top, lower left and extreme upper right, respectively. Massive landslide deposits, the Melas Labes, are visible near the junction of Candor and Melas chasmata at bottom, just left of center.
CoordinatesCoordinates: 6°36′S 70°54′W / 6.6°S 70.9°W / -6.6; -70.9

Candor Chasma is one of the largest canyons in the Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars. The feature is geographically divided into two halves: East and West Candor Chasmas, respectively. It is unclear how the canyon originally formed; one theory is that it was expanded and deepened by tectonic processes similar to a graben, while another suggests that it was formed by subsurface water erosion similar to a karst.[1] MRO discovered sulfates, hydrated sulfates, and iron oxides in Candor Chasma.[2]

Map of Coprates quadrangle showing details of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon system in the solar system. Some of the canyons may have once been filled with water. Candor Chasma is in the middle.

One of the pictures below shows branched channels. Many places on Mars show channels of different sizes. Many of these channels probably carried water, at least for a time. The climate of Mars may have been such in the past that water ran on its surface. It has been known for some time that Mars undergoes many large changes in its tilt or obliquity because its two small moons lack the gravity to stabilize it, as our moon stabilizes Earth; at times the tilt of Mars has even been greater than 80 degrees[3][4]


See also


  1. ESA – Mars Express – Walls of Candor Chasma
  2. Murchie, S. et al. 2009. A synthesis of Martian aqueous mineralogy after 1 Mars year of observations from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Journal of Geophysical Research: 114.
  3. Touma J. and J. Wisdom. 1993. The Chaotic Obliquity of Mars. Science 259, 1294-1297.
  4. Laskar, J., A. Correia, M. Gastineau, F. Joutel, B. Levrard, and P. Robutel. 2004. Long term evolution and chaotic diffusion of the insolation quantities of Mars. Icarus 170, 343-364.

External links