Valles Marineris: The Grand Canyon of Mars

The largest canyon in the
Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars.

Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends
over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as
600 kilometers across,
and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep.

By comparison, the
Earth’s Grand Canyon
in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across,
and 1.8 kilometers deep.

The origin of the >Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a
crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled.

Several geologic processes have been identified in
>the canyon.

The >above mosaic was

>created from over 100 images of
Mars taken by
>Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.

Credit:
Viking Project,
USGS,
NASA