On the Road Again - volume 5 - Page 16

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Posts: 344

Reply: 301

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 5:03 PM 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if it was some form of purple bacteria.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 302

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 5:15 PM 

Hort; Re. your #297. I don't understand the context of the "berry tail" image and what it is intended to show. Grateful if you would expand.



Posts: 169

Reply: 303

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 5:55 PM 

Kye. re your 293 here is an example of non spherical clasts.

Barsoomer - post 291. That is the big question. If we knew the erosional rate then we could date Concepcion with reasonable accurately. The current extremely benign environment must post-date the freezing of the dunes. But we don’t know with any real accuracy when that event occurred.

Hortonheardawho. Your processing of these x-eyed images like 294 is amazing. But the stem you point to seems to be the same colour as the nearby rock? Or am I missing something?


Posts: 344

Reply: 304

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 6:08 PM 

Serpens, the older craters continued to exist when the current benign environment began. Why did not the berries that were exposed at the edge of the rock begin to develop wind tails at that point? Weren't they then exposed to the same environment as Concepcion?


Posts: 3465

Reply: 305

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 6:19 PM 

Sol 2163 ( Feb 23, 2010 ) images, including these fascinating rocks:

er, the montage in reply 297, shows the development of the dark feature behind the sundial. You have to mentally "flip" between the images to see the changes. I was planning on doing a longer registered time sequence if there is any interest ni the feature.

A quick look seems to indicate episodic development rather than a continuous one, so I'm guessing this is wind-gust related.

It's just odd that this one area seems to be repeatedly "cleaned" - or "coated". I can't decide which is happening from the data that I have looked at so far.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 306

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 6:31 PM 

serpens, what I think you are missing is that the "soft" sulfate rock matrix is "reddish" / "yellowish" / "orangish". ( look at the linked "location image) and "bluish" implies ( to my simple mind ) some sort of alternation to a harder rock.

IE, red = soft; blue = hard.

I believe the "bluish" parts of the rock ( including the blue stem ) have been altered by some sort of water mediated process.

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 307

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 6:31 PM 

I've been looking back through the sols since Horton's little puzzle appeared on the rover deck (see reply 294). It seems to have substantially appeared over the course of sol 2024 but has grown greatly in extent since. These images are both from sol 2024:


Posts: 3062

Reply: 308

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 7:16 PM 

Hort; re. the sundial expanding spot. Here's an image of an Oppy track where it looks like Oppy expressed some purplish liquid from the soil. The colours etc. look like those on the sundial and on the soil nearby.



Posts: 2270

Reply: 309

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 7:18 PM 

Winston; If you have a fax # I will send you a copy of the article .

Hort; I think one "possible" blue stem should not be a "deal breaker". Smile

IMO the stems and wind-tails are related.
They appear to be composed of the same material as the berries and result from wind erosion of materials that differ in hardness.

Aren't the pebbles generally just fragments of the parent rock , loosely resting on the surface and as Kye said ,"never found in the bright rock".

As such they are not attached to any resistant(wind-tail/stem) material comparable to the berries so they have no appendages.

The growing stain is very interesting and wouldn't rule out the possibility of microbes finding something attractive.

I recommend you all read the article I mentioned to Winston in 282.


Posts: 344

Reply: 310

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 8:13 PM 

Uh,Oh! I just had an unsettling thought. If the stain continues to grow and eventually occupies a substantial part of the solar panel, it might impair Oppy's production of solar power (assuming it is a coating and not a cleaning).

I still have not heard a satisfactory explanation for why the berries in rocks at the older craters do not exhibit wind tails. Isn't that an insuperable obstacle for the wind tail idea, suggesting the stems are part of the pre-impact structure? Horton's #305 image seems to show the "rock matrix" as a crumbly weak material that does not seem strong enough to support the berries on wind-carved stems. One gets the distinct impression that there is at most a loose coating of the orangy rock material over a well-formed stem system.

Why is there such resistance to the idea of a pre-impact berry-stem system, which could have formed due to water action? The berries could still be concretions. Consider the following scenario: a first generation of berry concretions with no stems erode out of bedrock and form a lag deposit. Later, a second generation of water-based sediment rock forms around that lag deposit. The second generation berries get stems due to water erosion, i.e., water tails. Later this second generation rock is exposed in the impact that created Concepcion crater. Wind tails are not required.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 311

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 8:41 PM 

Back to one of Bill's bete noirs. Here's a crop from a composite of one of today's releases showing a crust that looks, at this distance, very much like lichen growth. Of course it probably isn't but one can hope, couldn't one.

Ben; thanks for the offer of faxing the article but I wouldn't want you to go to so much trouble especially since you need to spend as much of your time as possible looking at the oppy pictures. I will either check out the University here or get my brother to buy a copy from the newsstands in the US and send it to me.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 312

PostPosted: February 23, 2010 11:34 PM 

Last one for the night; Here are 2 more images from yesterday. Look very similar to crust on which first MI was taken at Chocolate hills. Berries here appear to be even more concentrated than the ones at chocolate hills. Image has a lichen like appearance with a smooth area free of berries and berries concentrated in two other areas.

Could this be a dispersal mechanism for the berries?



Posts: 169

Reply: 313

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 12:03 AM 

Hortonheardawho. Your eagle eyes win again and I couldn't agree more. Authigenesis is pervasive and we know that there is a hematite component in the rock. The concentration will vary and some of the more resistant layers may in fact have a higher hematite content as a result of different permeabilities. If the berries are concretions then some could well have attachments. I think there was an early MI from Eagle or Endurance that showed this in a rat hole.

Kye. The dark patch shows more clearly in some filters and could have been there in part since the dust-storm. For example sol 1259 seems to show a small stain (dirt?) in this location. But that may just be a grainy image.

If JPL with their resolution and image analysis capabiloty saw something significant then I am sure their hard pressed astro biology department would be right onto it. No conspiracy theories please. Remember that NASA had no reservations in claiming possible microbiology associated with the Mars meteorite. But they got hammered for being too quick off the mark.


Posts: 344

Reply: 314

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 12:07 AM 

Interesting image, Winston. Here the berries are in a layer over the smooth crust layer. At Chocolate Hills, it seemed the berries were under the smooth crust. Maybe we are seeing the opposite side of a fill between two rocks.

Thinking about your microbial suggestion, perhaps the smooth crust layer ate into the rock material on both sides, thereby concentrating the berries, which may have been resistant or "inedible."

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 315

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 1:00 AM 

serpens re you 303, Yes, some of the millimeter-scale bumpiness of the rock surface in that MI can be interpreted as representing the original sedimentary grains. The rover scientists described single-particle layers in Eagle Crater based on similar textures, but I don't think anything coarser has turned up. These grains, if they are grains, are usually thought of as the matrix out of which the spherules are eroding. What I meant was: The bedrock consists of this bright, layered, perhaps granule-textured material and spherules, and that's it. To my memory there has never been another kind of material that appeared incorporated in the rock.

Horton, That dark area by the sundial must be a dust related phenomenon of some kind I guess, unless it is something entirely unimagined. If this is a patch where dust has been removed revealing the darker surface of the rover we still have to wonder why the area is so sharply defined. I don't think it looks much like dust removal but If it is then the dust is acting in an unexpectedly complex way, as if it has formed a layer cohesive enough that it erodes in an all-or-nothing fashion. I don't think it looks like that either. It reminds me of the dark bands that appear so suddenly on the Eldorado ripple-field.


Posts: 344

Reply: 316

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 11:13 AM 

I've noticed the dust in the vicinity of rocks is often extremely slick and has an almost translucent property; one can often faintly see buried objects at shallow depths. The slickness can be seen, for example, in Winston's #311 and #311. Perhaps a similar development is taking place on the rover deck, with the sundial platform acting like a "rock."

Another possibility is that some vibration or rattle has developed that is causing localized cleaning.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 317

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 12:35 PM 

I wonder how many images need to be posted to elicit some discussion of the observation that a number of features of the chocolate hills and other concepcion area rock crusts visually resemble some aspects of lichens. I'm posting two images from the internet below just for comparison purposes. The first one has some visual characteristics in common with a number of crusts from diverse rocks at concepcion.

The second one has some visual characteristics in common with berries on stems.

The idea isn't necessarily that those crusts are or were biological analogues of lichens but that perhaps more importantly there are obvious blatant visual similarities between the morphology of many evidences of the crusts on different rocks and lichens. What are the probabilities of these developing by chance?

Also, I posted an image of Oppy next to a soil discrepancy where there was a smooth area with exactly the same colour of the spot on the solar bridge. No one has commented, although several persons have viewed the original image on my smug mug image site. Similarly, several persons have viewed the images of the rocks where I pointed out similarities to lichens but there are no comments except from Barsoomer.

Political correctness is really interesting.


Kevin Author Profile Page

Posts: no

Reply: 318

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 1:51 PM 

Winston I see the same, watching a program last night showing how much the Corals and other life forms that live and grow on rock in our seas have increased as a result of acidity levels in our Oceans rising because of CO2 increases in the atmosphere.

As that continues to progress so will the abundance of these life forms beneath our Oceans and as Mars seems to have suffered this fate a long time ago we are perhaps looking at old Ocean beds and the fossils left behind. Interestingly also just off California was an area of Sea literally fizzing like Champagne, when they dived down to the source there were great plumes of Helium being released from the Sea floor this is caused by the same warming of the Sea, we are still trying to work out where the Helium on Mars is coming from. In my mind it all makes sense, this is what happens to a Planet when it gets hot and has a heavy CO2 atmosphere, we know Mars had acidic Seas.

I don't worry about saying such things I think aloud here and share my views for what they are worth. If nothing else I might be making someone laugh which is no bad thing.

Here is a link if anyone would like to see the series (5 programmes in total) it was really good.



Posts: 3465

Reply: 319

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 1:58 PM 

Winston, it is very hard not to notice the similarities between the morphology of the rocks around Concepcion crater and moss, lichen and other hearty "rock eaters". I am sure the rock guys try very hard not to notice.

I remember vividly an early remark made by one of the rock guys who commented that in one of his early geology classes the prof admonished them to ignore the shapes of the rocks. They are trained professionally to regard rock shape as entirely incidental with no geological importance.

The phrase "erosion" completely covers their
concern with rock shape.

Whereas to a biologists shape is everything. Shape says a lot about how an organism makes a living.

And as a avid fossil collector for many years, rock shape was critical to collecting. I took great pleasure in walking among thousands of rock fragments and stopping and reaching down and picking up the one that in fact was a fossil. My brain is super-tuned to recognizing the symmetries that characterizes fossils. So when I see a rock like this one I reach down and pick it up and most of the time am rewarded with a smile.

To the rock guys it is just a clast and can be safely ignored.


Posts: 344

Reply: 320

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 4:49 PM 

This is best viewed in stereo. The rock at the left has a partly obscured bowl-shaped depression with an smooth covering of the bowl interior.

The rock also has steps. Part of an ancient terraced shoreline? Maybe the bowl-shaped depression was a tide pool?

Something new every Sol!

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