Named after the Hebrew name for Mars, Ma'adim Vallis is one of the largest valley systems on the Martian surface. The valley is situated in the Aeolis region (USGS MC-23 quadrangle) and extends in total 900 km along its length. The valley starts in the Eridana basin and terminates in the Gusev crater (the eastern edge of which can be seen in the upper portion of the image).
The valley was probably created in a single flash event (around 3.75 billion years ago) which saw water stored in the flooded Eridana basin burst out and drain down a modest gradient into the Gusev crater. It is highly likely, therefore, that the Gusev crater was at somepoint flooded. The local topography has then been further altered by volcanic activity associated with Apollinaris Patera.
At its deepest the valley is 2 km deep and is up to 20 km wide (although the valley floor is a nearer 5 km wide along its entire length). Short, narrow channels seen on the valley walls are possibly sapping channels caused when groundwater partly dissolves and undermines the rock which collapses.
Image created by ESA Science from data contained in the Mars Express public archive. The selected colour scheme is an interpretation based on the original raw data.
*Note: some of the image version provided are very large (approximately 6000 x 25000 pixels) and may take some time to open.