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Slope streaks on Mars: Correlations with surface properties and the potential role of water

Schorghofer, Norbert and Aharonson, Oded and Khatiwala, Samar (2002) Slope streaks on Mars: Correlations with surface properties and the potential role of water. Geophysical Research Letters, 29 (23). Art. No. 2126. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2002GL015889.

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The Mars Orbiter Camera on board the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft has returned images of numerous dark streaks that are the result of down-slope mass movement occurring under present-day martian climatic conditions. We systematically analyze over 23,000 high-resolution images and demonstrate that slope streaks form exclusively in regions of low thermal inertia (confirming earlier results), steep slopes, and, remarkably, only where peak temperatures exceed 275 K. The northernmost streaks, which form in the coldest environment, form preferentially on warmer south-facing slopes. Repeat images of sites with slope streaks show changes only if the time interval between the two images includes the warm season. Surprisingly (in light of the theoretically short residence time of H_2O close to the surface), the data support the possibility that small amounts of water are transiently present in low-latitude near-surface regions of Mars and undergo phase transitions at times of high insolation, triggering the observed mass movements.

Item Type:Article
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Aharonson, Oded0000-0001-9930-2495
Additional Information:© 2002 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 16 July 2002; revised 5 September 2002; accepted 6 September 2002; published 12 December 2002. We thank especially M. Richardson, D. Rothman, and M. Zuber for valuable comments, and M. Mellon for supplying the thermal inertia data in digital form. The authors acknowledge the use of Mars Orbiter Camera images processed by Malin Space Science Systems. This research was funded by a DOE grant DE-FG02-99ER 15004 to D. Rothman and a Mars Global Surveyor Project grant to M. Zuber. SK was supported by a William Z. Leavitt Post-Doctoral Fellowship.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE FG02-99ER 15004
William Z. Leavitt Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Geomorphology: fluvial; Geomorphology: general; Geomorphology: hillslope; Planetology: Solar System; Objects: Mars; Planetology: Solid Surface Planets: Surface materials and properties
Issue or Number:23
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130226-092603117
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Official Citation:Schorghofer, N., O. Aharonson, and S. Khatiwala, Slope streaks on Mars: Correlations with surface properties and the potential role of water, Geophys. Res. Lett., 29 (23), 2126, doi:10.1029/2002GL015889
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37133
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Feb 2013 20:32
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:27

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