Planet MarsMars Art Gallery

Martian Crater Streaks

Image of bright streaks on the wall of a Martian Crater

Image Title: Martian Crater Streaks
Release Date: December 4, 2005
Source: Mars Global Surveyor Narrow Angle Camera


The surface of Mars is rich in unusual features. In the image above, we see nature at work creating abstract art in the form of streaks descending down a crater wall. The streaks appear to start from a point sources near the top of the crater wall and broaden as they travel down slope. It appears that some process caused dark surface materials to be removed exposing lighter colored materials underneath. What the exact process is, whether avalanches or wind driven or a combination of the two, is unknown. Without more information, this becomes just one more unanswered question about Mars.

This image is unusual in that many of the streaks seen on crater and valley walls are darker than the adjacent surface. There has been speculation that the dark streaks seen in crater or valley walls are caused by flows of brackish water that darkens the surface materials.

Source Image Background

The raw data upon which this image is based was captured by the Mars Global Surveyor Narrow Angle Camera in November 1999. The crater shown is about 2.6 kilometers wide and is located in the Arabia quadrangle about 50 kilometers northwest of the unnamed crater Bl.

Image Processing

Processing of this image was done with Adobe Photoshop. The false colors seen in this image were created from a palette chosen by the artist. Additional surface terrain was created along the top of the image in order to achieve the correct computer screen aspect ratio.


I have created a low resolution, compressed version of "Martian Crater Streaks" for use as a desktop wallpaper. This wallpaper is made available for your personal use only. It is not to be modified or redistributed in any form by any means. All rights are retained by the artist.

Martian Crater Streaks Wallpaper
Martian Crater Streaks, 1280 X 1024 Wallpaper Image by Jim Plaxco

2005-2023 Jim Plaxco,