First in situ investigation of a dark wind streak on Mars

Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
By: , and 

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Abstract

Prominent low‐albedo wind streaks issue from embayments at the north end of Victoria crater in Meridiani Planum, the site of surface investigations by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Opportunity was sent to examine the darkest of these wind streaks and compare it to the adjacent soil in the brighter corridor between the streaks. Two nearby sites inside and outside of the streak were selected for visible and infrared remote sensing and for elemental abundance measurements and images of the microscopic soil morphology. The rover was next sent to study the interaction of the wind streak with an obstacle, a small rock near the source of the streak. Opportunity's observations suggest that the Victoria wind streaks are deposits of basaltic sand blown out of the crater from the dark dunes nestled below the crater rim, particularly at the base of the alcove leading up to the darkest streak. No local sources of sand have been identified within the Victoria crater wall rock, suggesting that the sand is supplied from outside the crater and is presently escaping its temporary topographic trap. This process presents a possible explanation for the serrated margin of Victoria crater through abrasion of the soft rock as trapped sands are blown out of the crater and carve alcoves under various seasonal winds. Some indication of the rate of activity of these wind streaks will be provided by continued monitoring of the erasure of the rover's tracks.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title First in situ investigation of a dark wind streak on Mars
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
DOI 10.1029/2008JE003102
Volume 113
Issue E12
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 16 p.
Other Geospatial Mars; Victoria crater; Meridiani Planum