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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.
This is a local dust storm on Mars located near the edge of the south polar cap.
Click on image for full size
Image from: Calvin J. Hamilton, LPI, and NASA

Martian Global Dust Storms

This image shows a local dust storm near the edge of the south polar cap. Viewing of this image at high resolution is recommended. This fascinating image shows dust swirling over a large area.

Martian global dust storms tend to start in the southern hemisphere with a local dust storm, such as the one shown here. Southern spring and summer seem to be the season for global dust storms. Local dust storms seem to be swept into huge storms which envelope the entire planet, as was discovered by the Viking mission to Mars in the 1970's. Global dust storms do not seem to occur every Martian spring or summer, however.

The action of sands carried by winds during Martian global dust storms makes a great contribution toward wearing down rocks on the Martian surface.


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Martian Weathering by Wind and Sand

Dried debris left after a flood is "wind mobile" and can be lifted into the air by winds. The general process by which this occurs is called "saltation". Saltation is the primary form of abrasion and erosion...more

Weathering processes on Mars

There are two main weathering agents on Mars: wind and acid fog. Although acid fog can be very important, because large amounts of water are not readily accessible from the Martian surface, the action...more

Martian Surface Winds

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The Mermaid Dune

During the Mars Pathfinder Rover's exploration of the Martian surface, it traversed what scientists now call the "Mermaid Dune", covered with soils. The soil on top of Mermaid Dune seemed to have a dark...more

MPF Soil Results

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Weather found by Mars Pathfinder

This is the first image showing clouds of Mars taken from the lander. Ground based viewing of Mars has shown that clouds seem to be plentiful only in the middle latitudes This may be because water of Mars...more

The Mariner Missions to Mars

Prior to the Mariner missions, we had to rely on ground-based observations to look at Mars. Using ground-based observations, scientists were able to identify channels, polar caps which varied with season,...more

Mars Exploration Rover Vehicles

The Mars Exploration Rovers are six-wheeled robotic vehicles that are exploring the surface of Mars. The rovers, powered by solar panels, are robotic "field geologists" that are examining Martian rocks...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA