Hydraotes Chaos is an equatorial region of chaotic terrain located near some of the large outflow channels on Mars. Chaotic terrain near the outflow channels (ancient flood channels) is thought to form when ices beneath the surface rapidly become liquid or gaseous and escapes, and the remaining solid material collapses.
Chaotic terrain is called “chaotic” because it consists of a large jumble of randomly shaped mesas (hills) and troughs. Many regions of chaotic terrain are located at the head (start) of the outflow channels, suggesting that the origins of the two classes of feature might be related to each other.
The mesa located in the center of the image has elongated depressions that might be evidence of past fluvial activity.
Written by: Kelly Kolb (26 November 2008)
More info and image formats at http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_009709_1810
Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona