Experimental Simulations of Recurring Slope Lineae on the Surface of Mars

By: Elizabeth Eddings '15

Advising Faculty: Douglas Thompson

Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) are active surface features found on rocky Martian slopes commonly in the southern hemisphere equatorial to mid-latitude regions. These low albedo, dark streaks on Mars demonstrate seasonal characteristics;? they appear and grow darker and longer in warm months and fade to possible disappearance in colder months. One proposed mechanism for the formation and evolution of these features by McEwen et al. (2011) is the melting of subsurface water on Mars. The goal of this study was to test this hypothesis by reconstructing features similar to RSL in the lab that display the same seasonal characteristics as a result of freezing and thawing cycles creating a source of subsurface liquid. Laboratory experiments were conducted at both the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences and at Connecticut College using small open-topped and insulated boxes filled with saturated regolith.

This honors thesis may be read in its entirety at Digital Commons @ Connecticut College.


Related Fields: Physics