Friday, March 9, 2012

Slope Streak Stripes on Crater Walls

Radially-oriented slope streaks paint stripes on the sides of this crater in Arabia Terra. Slope streaks are common features on steep slopes in Mars' dusty terrain, but this crater is a particularly dramatic example.

Slope streaks, thought to be the result of shallow cascades of dust, are dark when fresh and fade as they age (see this highly stretched subimage that emphasizes the color difference between streaks). So it is clear that this crater experienced repeated episodes of streak formation, apparently around its entire circumference.

Other steep slopes nearby also show evidence of repeated slope streak activity - see ESP_024924_1945, PSP_009272_1955, and PSP_008705_1950 - but none are quite as photogenic as this one!

Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Note: This crater is near the western border of Terra Sabaea, with Meridiani Planum lying to the southwest. The closest named feature is Gill Crater, to the west.

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