The Red Planet

The Valles Marineris canyon system slashes across the center of Mars's disk. The three dark circular patches on its left limb are three giant shield volcanoes on the Tharsis Bulge.

surface features

Much of Mars's northern hemisphere is covered by relatively smooth, low-lying volcanic plain. The southern-hemisphere terrain is older and typically crater-covered highland. Mars's major surface features are found in a roughly 60° band that is centered on the equator. The most striking feature is the Valles marineris, a complex canyon system over 2,500 miles (4,000 km) long. the canyons were formed about 3.5 billion years ago when internal forces in young Mars split its surface apart. they have since widened and deepened through water and wind erosion, or by collapse. Internal forces also formed raised areas such as the tharsis Bulge. olympus mons and other large shield volcanoes, formed by successive lava flows, dominate this region.

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