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Investigating the origin and formation mechanisms of Martian Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) from TGO/CaSSIS 4-band spectrophotometry

Presentation #217.07 in the session Mars’ and Martian Moons’ Surface Properties and Composition (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Investigating the origin and formation mechanisms of Martian Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) from TGO/CaSSIS 4-band spectrophotometry

Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) are narrow dark streaks that incrementally lengthen down Martian warm steep slopes [1]. Early RSL observations [1,2] highlighted that their activity occurred during warm seasons and that RSL completely disappeared during winter and recurred annually, suggesting that RSL could be related to flows of liquid water or brines [1-5] or from the deliquescence of hygroscopic salts [6]. However, subsequent extensive RSL monitoring detected observational evidence incompatible with a water or brine-related origin. Correlations between RSL activity and surface dust, RSL length and surface slope and contemporary RSL lengthening and fading led authors to interpret RSL as dry granular flows [7,8], possibly related to aeolian processes [9,10]. In particular, [10,11] investigate RSL as aeolian sandy flows.

In this study, we investigate whether RSL are consistent with sandy flows by analyzing 4-filter, 4.65 m/px TGO/CaSSIS ([12]) images at multiple sites on Mars. We select regions showing both RSL and sources of sand and compare their 4-filter CaSSIS spectrophotometry. We also use MRO/HiRISE ( [13]) 0.25 m/px images to better constrain the morphology and temporal evolution of both features. Preliminary results suggest that RSL and nearby sand deposits have similar spectrophotometric properties, thereby suggesting a common origin, providing new and independent evidence for a sandy RSL origin.

Acknowledgements: This study has been supported by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) through the ASI-INAF agreement no. 2020-17-HH.0

References: [1] A. S. McEwen et al. (2011), Science (6043), 740–743 [2] Stillman et al. (2014), Icarus 233, 328–341 [3] Huber et al., (2020) Icarus 335, 113385. [4] Stilllman et al. (2016), Icarus 265, 125–138. [5] Abotalib and Heggy (2019),Nat. Geosci. 12, 235–241 [6] Wang et al. (2020), Icarus 333, 464–480 [7] Dundas et al. (2017), Nat. Geosci. 10 (12), 903–907 [8] McEwen, A. S. et al. (2021), JGR-Planets, in press. [9] Vincendon et al. (2019), Icarus 325, 115–127 [10] Dundas et al. (2020), Icarus 343, 2020, 113681 [11] Stillman et al. (2021), Icarus 369, 114648 [12] Thomas et al. (2017) Space Sci. Rev. 212 (3–4), 1897–1944 [13] McEwen et al., (2007), JGR, 112

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