Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) reveals a system of gigantic valleys to the northwest of the huge martian shield volcano, Arsia Mons, in the western hemisphere of Mars. These newly identified northwestern slope valleys (NSVs) potentially signify previously undocumented martian catastrophic floods and may corroborate the northern ocean hypotheses. These features, which generally correspond spatially to gravity lows, were previously obscurred in Mariner and Viking Orbiter imagery by veneers of materials, including volcanic lava flows and air fall deposits. Geologic investigations of the Tharsis region suggest that the NSVs were mainly carved prior to the construction of Arsia Mons and its associated Late Hesperian and Amazonian age lava flows, concurrent with the early development of the outflow channels that debouch into Chryse Planitia.
Additional publication details
System of gigantic valleys northwest of Tharsis, Mars: Latent catastrophic flooding, northwest watershed, and implications for northern plains ocean