The Tharsis Montes region on Mars is a major center of volcanic and tectonic activity. The channel in this image is west of the relatively small volcano called Biblis Patera although it shows no obvious relationship to that volcano. Instead, it may be related to the more distant, but more massive volcano Olympus Mons to the north. The channel may have hosted flowing lava at one time but now contains a material that has eroded into an impressive ridge-and-groove pattern. These features may be yardangs, landforms produced from the erosion by wind of sedimentary material.
Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.