Planet MarsMars Art Gallery

Bright Wind Streaks in Syrtis Major

Picture of bright wind streak in the Syrtis Major Planitia area of Mars

Image Title: Bright Wind Streaks in Syrtis Major
Release Date: December 4, 2005
Source: Viking Orbiter 1


When I came across this image in my Viking archives my first impression was that of a host of comets streaking across the night sky. The appearance of surface streaks down wind from craters is common on Mars. Bright streaks, like those seen in the image above, are the most common type of martian wind streak. Streaks form as a consequence of wind action on surface materials. The irregular topography of the crater rim causes turbulence in the air that flows across the martian surface. This turbulence results in surface materials being eroded or deposited. The orientation or direction of the surface streaks is determined by the direction of the prevailing winds.

Source Image Background

The source data for this image was a Viking Orbiter 1 image frame taken in April 1980 as a part of the Viking Medium Resolution Mapping Sequence mission. The target area is 5 north latitude and 295 west longitude, a part of Syrtis Major Planitia located in the Syrtis Major quadrangle.

Image Processing

Adobe Photoshop was used to create this false color image. In addition to noise removal and contrast enhancement, false color was created from a palette of colors representative of Mars.


I have created a low resolution, compressed version of "Bright Wind Streaks in Syrtis Major" 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.

Wind Streaks in Syrtis Major Wallpaper
Wind Streaks in Syrtis Major, 1280 X 1024 Wallpaper Image by Jim Plaxco

2005 Jim Plaxco,