Slope streaks on Mars: Correlations with surface properties and the potential role of water
Article first published online: 12 DEC 2002
Copyright 2002 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 29, Issue 23, pages 41-1–41-4, December 2002
How to Cite
Slope streaks on Mars: Correlations with surface properties and the potential role of water, Geophys. Res. Lett., 29(23), 2126, doi:10.1029/2002GL015889, 2002., , and ,
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2002
- Article first published online: 12 DEC 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 SEP 2002
- Manuscript Revised: 5 SEP 2002
- Manuscript Received: 16 JUL 2002
 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 H2O 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.