The discovery of presumably geologically recent gully features on Mars (Malin and Edgett, 2000, Science 288, 2330-2335) has spawned a wide variety of proposed theories of their origin including hypotheses of the type of erosive material. To test the validity of gully formation mechanisms, data from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft has been analyzed to uncover trends in the dimensional and physical properties of the gullies and their surrounding terrain. We located 106 Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images that contain clear evidence of gully landforms, distributed in the southern mid and high latitudes, and analyzed these images in combination with Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) and Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) data to provide quantitative measurements of numerous gully characteristics. Parameters we measured include apparent source depth and distribution, vertical and horizontal dimensions, slopes, orientations, and present-day characteristics that affect local ground temperatures. We find that the number of gully systems normalized to the number of MOC images steadily declines as one moves poleward of 30° S, reaches a minimum value between 60°-63° S, and then again rises poleward of 63° S. All gully alcove heads occur within the upper one-third of the slope encompassing the gully and the alcove bases occur within the upper two-thirds of the slope. Also, the gully alcove heads occur typically within the first 200 meters of the overlying ridge with the exception of gullies equatorward of 40° S where some alcove heads reach a maximum depth of 1000 meters. While gullies exhibit complex slope orientation trends, gullies are found on all slope orientations at all the latitudes studied. Assuming thermal conductivities derived from TES measurements as well as modeled surface temperatures, we find that 79% of the gully alcove bases lie at depths where subsurface temperatures are greater than 273 K and 21% of the alcove bases lie within the solid water regime. Most of the gully alcoves lie outside the temperature-pressure phase stability of liquid CO 2. Based on a comparison of measured gully features with predictions from the various models of gully formation, we find that models involving carbon dioxide, melting ground ice in the upper few meters of the soil, dry landslide, and surface snowmelt are the least likely to describe the formation of the martian gullies. Although some discrepancies still exist between prediction and observation, the shallow and deep aquifer models remain as the most plausible theories. Interior processes involving subsurface fluid sources are generally favored over exogenic processes such as wind and snowfall for explaining the origin of the martian gullies.