Ripped apart by tectonic forces, Hebes Chasma and its neighbouring network of canyons bear the scars of the Red Planet’s early history in this amazing eight-image mosaic captured by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft. Hebes Chasma is an enclosed, almost 8 km-deep trough stretching 315 km in an east–west direction and 125 km from north to south at its widest point. It sits about 300 km north of the vast Valles Marineris canyon complex.
The origin of Hebes Chasma and neighbouring canyons is associated with the nearby volcanic Tharsis Region, home to the largest volcano in the Solar System, Olympus Mons. As the Tharsis bulge swelled with magma during the planet’s first billion years, the surrounding crust was stretched, eventually ripping apart and collapsing into gigantic troughs, including Hebes Chasma.
Image credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G Neukum)