Exploring Mars : Riverbed in the Maurtus Valley

(ORDO NEWS) — In front of you (in the picture below) is a curious section of the Martian valley of Maurt, through which a turbulent river flowed billions of years ago.

As on Earth , riverbeds on the Red Planet can be filled with “cemented” rock, giving it a stable shape. Even when Mars became a frozen desert and water disappeared from the surface, the rocky riverbed has survived to this day.

Rivers of young Mars

The dark ‘crest’ meandering in the center of the image is an ancient river bed that currently rises above its surroundings. This is because the softer materials have been broken down by erosion, while the cemented bed resists this.

Scientists call such ridges “inverted channels”, and they are quite common in the Maurtus Valley. This suggests that once the Maurtus Valley was something of a Martian oasis, and the canals are not the only confirmation of this

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has provided data proving the presence of a large amount of clay minerals, which are impossible to form without water.

It is noteworthy that clay minerals could “preserve” traces of microscopic life, if such was once on Mars. NASA and the European Space Agency are considering the Maurtus Valley for landing future rovers.

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