Washington: NASA has released an image of a relatively fresh landslide on Mars that shows boulder-covered landslip along a canyon wall.
Landslides occur when steep slopes fail, sending a mass of soil and rock to flow downhill, leaving behind a scarp at the top of the slope, the researchers said.
The mass of material comes to rest when it reaches shallower slopes, forming a lobe of material that ends in a well-defined edge called a toe.
The striking feature of the image, acquired by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on 19 March, 2014, is a boulder-covered landslide along a canyon wall.
The landslide is relatively fresh, as many individual boulders still stand out above the main deposit, researchers said.
Additionally, while several small impact craters are visible in the landslide lobe, they are smaller in size and fewer in number than those on the surrounding valley floor.
The scarp itself also looks fresh compared to the rest of the cliff – it too has boulders, and more varied topography than the adjacent dusty terrain.
Just to the north of the landslide scarp is a similarly-shaped scar on the cliff-side. However, there is no landslide material on the valley floor below it.
The older landslide deposit has either been removed or buried, a further indicator of the relative youth of the bouldery landslide.