Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Space & Planetary Sciences (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

John Dixon

Committee Member

Vincent Chevrier

Second Committee Member

Jason Tullis

Third Committee Member

Rick Ulrich

Abstract

Martian slope streaks were first observed in Viking images but their formation still remains ambiguous. Martian slope streaks are currently occurring geological phenomenon on Mars, which requires any formation theory to be in agreement with Mar's current temperature and pressure conditions. Planar morphology of martian slope streaks suggest a potential fluvial formation, but current conditions on Mars are not conducive to water remaining liquid long enough to erode the surface. Debris flows, fluid stains and dry dust avalanches have all been previously cited as a potential formation mechanism for martian slope streaks. Recent experimental simulations indicate that a fluvial source for martian slope streaks should again be evaluated as a potential formation mechanism. Using solutions of varying viscosities, martian slope streak characters were successfully replicated. Viscous fluids simulated would be analogous to liquid brines, which are likely to be found on Mars. Liquid brines may be stable long enough to erode the planet's surface. Although numerical and theoretical simulations have been done, these are the first experimental simulations on martian slope streaks.

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