Seasonal flows on warm Martian slopes

Alfred S. McEwen, Lujendra Ojha, Colin M. Dundas, Sarah S. Mattson, Shane Byrne, James J. Wray, Selby C. Cull, Scott L. Murchie, Nicolas Thomas, Virginia C. Gulick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

317 Scopus citations

Abstract

Water probably flowed across ancient Mars, but whether it ever exists as a liquid on the surface today remains debatable. Recurring slope lineae (RSL) are narrow (0.5 to 5 meters), relatively dark markings on steep (25° to 40°) slopes; repeat images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment show them to appear and incrementally grow during warm seasons and fade in cold seasons. They extend downslope from bedrock outcrops, often associated with small channels, and hundreds of them form in some rare locations. RSL appear and lengthen in the late southern spring and summer from 48°S to 32°S latitudes favoring equator-facing slopes, which are times and places with peak surface temperatures from ∼250 to 300 kelvin. Liquid brines near the surface might explain this activity, but the exact mechanism and source of water are not understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-743
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume333
Issue number6043
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 5 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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