Aram Chaos in false colour

Heavily eroded Aram Chaos

30 May 2006

These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show Aram Chaos, 280-km-wide circular structure characterized by chaotic terrain.

Context map, Aram Chaos
Map showing Aram Chaos in context

The HRSC obtained these images during orbit 945 with a ground resolution of approximately 14 metres per pixel. The images show the region of Aram Chaos, at approximately 2° North and 340° East.

Aram Chaos is a 280-km-wide almost-circular structure located between the outflow channel Ares Vallis and Aureum Chaos. It is one of many regions located east of Valles Marineris and characterized by chaotic terrain.

Aram Chaos in colour
Aram Chaos (north to the right)

As the name 'chaos' suggests, this terrain comprises large-scale remnant massifs, large relief masses that have been moved and weathered as a block. These are heavily eroded and dominate the circular morphology, or structure, which may have formed during an impact. As seen in the colour image, these remnant massifs range from a few kilometres to approximately ten kilometres wide and have a relative elevation of roughly 1000 metres.

Aram Chaos, black and white

The western region of the colour image is characterized by brighter material, which seems to be layered and could be the result of sedimentary deposition. Distinct layering, causing a terrace-like appearance, is also visible east of this brighter material and in the relatively flat region located in the northwest of the colour image.

Perspective of Aram Chaos
Aram Chaos, perspective view

Some scientists believe that the numerous chaotic regions located in the eastern part of Valles Marineris were the source of water or ice thought to have created the valleys that extend into Chryse Planitia. These regions are particularly interesting because they may yield clues to the relationship between Valles Marineris, the chaotic terrain, the valleys and the Chryse basin.

Aram chaos, in 3D
Aram Chaos, 3D anaglyph

The colour scenes have been derived from the three HRSC-colour channels and the nadir channel. The perspective view has been calculated from the digital terrain model derived from the stereo channels. The anaglyph image was calculated from the nadir and one stereo channel. Image resolution has been decreased for use on the internet.

For more information on Mars Express HRSC images, please read our updated FAQ (frequently asked questions).

Copyright 2000 - 2014 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.