A fine channel networks on Mars. This scene shows heavily cratered highlands dissected by dendritic open channel networks that dissect steep slopes of impact crater walls, as seen by NASA's Viking spacecraft.

A color image of fine channel networks on Mars; north toward top. The scene shows heavily cratered highlands dissected by dendritic open channel networks that dissect steep slopes of impact crater walls.

This image is a composite of Viking high-resolution images in black and white and low-resolution images in color. The image extends from latitude 9 degrees S. to 5 degrees S. and from longitude 312 degrees to 320 degrees; Mercator projection.

The dendritic pattern of the fine channels and their location on steep slopes leads to the interpretation that these are runoff channels. The restriction of these types of channels to ancient highland rocks suggests that these channels are old and date from a time on Mars when conditions existed for precipitation to actively erode rocks. After the channels reach a low plain, they appear to end. Termination may have resulted from burial by younger deposits or perhaps the flows percolated into the surface materials and continued underground.

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