Today's VIS image shows a portion of Tantalus Fossae. The linear features are tectonic graben. Graben are formed by extension of the crust and faulting. When large amounts of pressure or tension are applied to rocks on timescales that are fast enough that the rock cannot respond by deforming, the rock breaks along faults. In the case of a graben, two parallel faults are formed by extension of the crust and the rock in between the faults drops downward into the space created by the extension. Numerous sets of graben are visible in this THEMIS image, trending from north-northeast to south-southwest. Because the faults defining the graben are formed perpendicular to the direction of the applied stress, we know that extensional forces were pulling the crust apart in the west-northwest/east-southeast direction.
The large number of graben around Alba Mons is generally believed to be the result of extensional forces associated with the uplift of the volcano. Tantalus Fossae is 2361 km (1467 miles) long.
Orbit Number: 93854 Latitude: 44.7334 Longitude: 261.223 Instrument: VIS Captured: 2023-02-10 06:05
Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, 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.