Remnants of a Mega-flood on Mars Discovered

ESA’s Mars Express has captured images of one of the largest outflow channel networks on the Red Planet.

The Kasei Valles channel system extends around 3000 km from its source region in Echus Chasma – which lies east of the bulging volcanic region Tharsis and just north of the Valles Marineris canyon system – to its sink in the vast plains of Chryse Planitia.

A combination of volcanism, tectonics, collapse and subsidence in the Tharsis region led to several massive groundwater releases from Echus Chasma, which subsequently flooded the Kasei Valles region around 3.6 to 3.4 billion years ago. These ancient mega-floods have left their mark on the features seen today.

Sections of Kasei Valles have already been imaged by Mars Express during its 14 years at the Red Planet, but this new image, taken on May 25, 2016, captures a portion right at its mouth.


This scene preserves a record of geological activity spanning billions of years of the Red Planet’s history.

Worcester crater in context. Photo: NASA MGS MOLA Science Team