Bedform Changes in Aureum Chaos

Aureum Chaos, located in the eastern part of Valles Marineris, is a complex area with light-toned material. Pits in this region are visible in MOC (Mars Orbital Camera) data. Does layering in the pits relate to the light-toned material at all?

This region is southwest of Aram Chaos, and like the name “chaos” suggests, the terrain is characterized by randomly oriented, large-scale mesas and knobs that are heavily eroded and dominate the area. (You might also see the phrase “chaotic terrain” used to describe such areas.)

The OMEGA experiment on Mars Express discovered clay minerals (phyllosilicates) in a variety places in Aureum Chaos. Since these minerals require water to form, it’s possible large amounts were once here. The removal of that water is one of the ways the terrain was formed.

HiRISE has imaged this area before to track changes: PSP_004448_1765 and ESP_013269_1765 .

This caption is based on the original science rationale.

Written by: HiRISE Science Team   (11 May 2011)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_022183_1765 .

More info and image formats at

Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona