Science and Exploration

A Large New Slump in Eos Chasma on Mars

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
March 17, 2022
Filed under ,
A Large New Slump in Eos Chasma on Mars
Eos Chasma

In geology, a slump forms a mass of loosely consolidated material or a rock layer moves a short distance down a slope. The movement is characterized by sliding along a concave-upward or planar surface.
Based on other HiRISE images, this particular slump occurred between 9 March 2020 and 17 February 2021, corresponding to the relatively warm spring and summer of the Southern Hemisphere. This is among the largest active slumps documented on Mars, about 700 meters (0.4 mile) long.

Causes of slumping on Earth include earthquake shocks, reduction of friction through wetting, freezing and thawing, undercutting (such as from a stream), and loading of a slope. Based on the geomorphology of this region and other active slumps seen on Mars, we suspect loading of the slope via smaller-scale activity like gullies, recurring slope lineae and windblown deposits may have contributed to the slumping. Perhaps a Marsquake triggered the movement.

Note to future Mars explorers: setting up camp at the base of this slope is not recommended.

This is a stereo pair with ESP_069895_1640.

Larger image

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.