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Mars, Xanthe highlands: sediment deposits in the Nanedi delta



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Mars, Xanthe highlands: sediment deposits in the Nanedi delta
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The Nanedi valley, in the Xanthe highlands on Mars, opens into an impact crater with an approximate diameter of five kilometres. The maple leaf-shaped deposits inside the unnamed crater show that in the past, water must have flowed through the Nanedi valley, depositing its sediment load in the crater basin. A group of researchers, led by DLR planetary geologist Ernst Hauber, discovered this from images recorded by three Mars satellites. This particular image was recorded by the "Context Camera" on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) mission.

It is thought that, 3.8 to 4 billion years ago, the crater may have been filled to the rim with water, forming a lake in the Martian highlands. The crater rim ultimately could not withstand the water pressure, so its eastern section (to the right of the image) was breached, allowing the water to flow northward through a smaller valley. The crater is located at 8.6 degrees north latitude and 312 degrees east longitude.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.