About this image
This THEMIS visible image shows Dao Vallis, a large outflow channel that starts on the southeast flank of a large volcano called Hadriaca Patera and runs for 1000 kilometers southwest into the Hellas impact basin. The channels up to 20 kilometers wide near its source, but narrows downstream. As can be seen in the context image, the part of Dao Vallis imaged by THEMIS is actually one of the most narrow. It is believed that Dao Vallis was carved by a combination of surface and subsurface flow. Evidence for both of these processes can be seen in this image. The size of the channel, its steep walls, and the lineations at the bottom of the channel indicate that it was carved by surface flow of water. The erosional morphology near the center of the image, on the northern edge of the channel indicates that groundwater sapping was also a minor process. Subsidence of the surface into the quasi-circular depressions seen in this image is indicative of this process. Because the source region of Dao Vallis is the flank of a volcano, it is most likely that the water that carved the channel erupted from the subsurface as geothermal heating by nearby magma melted large amounts of ground ice. Some of this water made it to the surface and carved the channel, while some water flowed below ground and caused the sapping features evident in this THEMIS image.
Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images.