Slope streak formation and dust deposition rates on Mars

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Abstract

[1] The Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) has imaged, sometimes repeatedly, mass movements known as slope streaks, which are abundant in the dust-covered regions on Mars. They are among the few known examples of contemporary surface changes. A survey of 173 collocated image pairs indicates that these features are currently forming at a high rate of ∼7% per existing streak, per Martian year. Either there is a complete turnover within a few decades or the streak population is currently increasing rapidly. Large spatial, as well as possible temporal, variations in the formation rate are obtained from these data. Streaks do not appear to fade over time periods comparable to their inverse formation rate of ∼28 years, as seen by analysis of Viking Orbiter images containing streaks that are still visible in MOC images. Gradual or stochastic variations in dust deposition may be needed to explain observations of changes in the formation rate, and its current imbalance with the fading rate.

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