The distribution of small channels on Mars has been mapped from Mariner 9 images, at the 1:5 000 000 scale, by the author. The small channels referred to here are small valleys ranging in width from the resolution limit of the Mariner 9 wide-angle images (???1 km) to about 10 km. The greatest density of small band occurs in dark cratered terrain. This dark zone forms a broad subequatorial band around the planet. The observed distribution may be the result of decreased small-channel visibility in bright areas due to obscuration by a high albedo dust or sediment mantle. Crater densities within two small-channel segments show crater size-frequency distributions consistent with those of the oldest of the heavily cratered plains units. Such crater densities coupled with the almost exclusive occurrence of small channels in old cratered terrain and the generally degraded appearance of small channels in the high-resolution images (???100 m) imply a major episode of small-channel formation early in Martian geologic history. ?? 1976.
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Distribution of small channels on the Martian surface