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This image of the south polar terrain of Triton, taken on Aug. 25, 1989 reveals about 50 dark plumes or 'wind streaks' on the icy surface.
The plumes originate at very dark spots generally a few miles in diameter and some are more than 100 miles long. The spots which clearly mark the source of the dark material may be vents where gas has erupted from beneath the surface and carried dark particles into Triton's nitrogen atmosphere. Southwesterly winds then transported the erupted particles, which formed gradually thinning deposits to the northeast of most vents. It is possible that the eruptions have been driven by seasonal heating of very shallow subsurface deposits of volatiles, and the winds transporting particles similarly may be seasonal winds. The polar terrain, upon which the dark streaks have been deposited, is a region of bright materials mottled with irregular, somewhat dark patches. The pattern of irregular patches suggests that they may correspond to lag deposits of moderately dark material that cap the bright ice over the polar terrain.
The Voyager Project is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.