Schiaparelli impact basin on Mars was carved by wind, water

December 11th, 2010 - 2:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 11 (ANI): New images from ESA’s Mars Express have indicated that the Schiaparelli impact basin has been shaped significantly by wind and water on the Red planet.

Schiaparelli is a large impact basin about 460 km (285 miles) in diameter located in the eastern Terra Meridiani region of the equator of Mars.

Named after the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, the center of the basin lies at about 3 degrees S, 17 degrees E. Schiaparelli mapped the planet, perceiving a number of straight dark lines across the red surface, which he named ‘canali’.

Now there is evidence in this new picture that water was once present in this region of the planet, perhaps in the form of a lake. The image was taken on 15 July 2010 by the High-Resolution Stereo Camera of ESA’s Mars Express.

The interior of the basin has been changed by multiple geological processes, including the fall of ejecta blasted upwards by the initial impact, flows of lava to create the smooth plains, and watery sediments.

Also in the crater floor, smaller impact craters have been partially flooded and filled. The sediments have been modified by erosion, either by wind, water or both to form sharp contours such as the skinny plateau at bottom left.

Another prominent crater is 42 km across and rests on the innerrim of Schiaparelli. Its interior is filled with sediments that appear to form a terrace in the northern part and a delta-like structure near the center. Dark wind-borne material has accumulated in the southern portion of the crater. (ANI)

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