On the Road Again - volume 5 - Page 17

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Posts: 3465

Reply: 321

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 6:04 PM 

Sol 2164 ( Feb 24, 2010 ) false color images, including this one:

Ooook, the crust is on top of the beds - and on the sides. Whatever process coated the fractured sides most likely also coated the top of the rock.

There is also a crust on curved rock surface in this image.

An interesting study would be a count of the coated bedding surfaces vs cross bedding surfaces.

Assuming squarish blocks then on average there should be 4 times as many bedding sides as tops exposed.

If the ratio of coated sides to tops is less than 4 then most likely the blocks were coated after they were broken up by the cratering event. In which case there is some 'splain' to do.

Once the Winter Olympics are done I will do a rough count.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 322

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 7:15 PM 

Here is the saturated false color 3D of the reply 320 images. There is a very, very peculiar stalked berry in this picture. I will not spoil the surprise.

Also, here is a saturated false color 3D of the rocks on the edge of the crater bowl - with several interesting dust slides.

Why hasn't the fine red atmospheric dust covered the dark soil in the crater bowl?


Posts: 125

Reply: 323

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 7:49 PM 

Hi Hort... You and Winston should get some kind of award for Mars images; well done to both!

Re the peculiar berry in reply 322; one of the longest wind tails I've seen yet. Wow. It's a giant among berries. Very Happy


Posts: 344

Reply: 324

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 8:06 PM 


In your #321, what is that smooth blue rectangular brick doing on top of the rock!!!
Pity there is no right eye for this one.

I can't help thinking that some of these rocks were formerly in a marine environment.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 325

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 8:22 PM 

Here are my images of today's releases centred on the theme of "all show rocks with crust that resembles lichens".

Hort; Kevin; thanks for your words of encouragement.

I wonder if Mann and Henry and Marsman are out there monitoring. It may be time to come back. This concepcion site is awesome. I suspect the astrobiologists at NASA / JPL are either feeling frustrated or overjoyed.



Posts: 2270

Reply: 326

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 9:18 PM 

Hort; I don't want to burst your bubble but the top of the rock you show in 321 has bedding planes which means it was once the side of the rock which had been fractured. Shocked

I haven't seen a single positive case where the fill is on the planar surface.

Based on 321, maybe you shouldn't be the
one to do this census on fracture fill surfaces Smile

Winston; I am no biologist but I thought lichens grow above the surface.
H aven't we agreed these fractures were once below the surface and only relatively recently exposed by the impact?
If you say lichens grew after the impact why this spot and not all of the ejecta we have passed?

At this stage in the Concepcion discussions I am beginning to feel a bit remorseful about my criticism of Dana's observations.!!


Posts: 344

Reply: 327

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 10:38 PM 

From the Planetary Society blog


Opportunity has spent a few weeks at Concepcion crater and is now driving clockwise around it to get a slightly different point of view; I expect to see her depart for points south before too long. Here is Eduardo Tesheiner's latest route map and Google Earth kml file for Opportunity. The predicted path for Opportunity will take her about 700 meters slightly west of due south to get to a cool looking doublet crater (looks like the impactor broke into two big pieces before it hit).


Posts: 3062

Reply: 328

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 10:42 PM 

Hi Ben; Re your reply #326. Perhaps We should volunteer you to do the count. You said "I haven't seen a single positive case where the fill is on the planar surface." If that is so how do you explain the cases where "fill" is seen clearly on two opposite sides and also apparently flowing over a third side between them on a rock?

Ypu said "Winston; I am no biologist but I thought lichens grow above the surface."
Lichens are compound organisms made up of two or three separate biota and together they may exploit anaerobic habitats where separately one might while the others could'nt. Anyhow, If they are organisms that look like lichens on Mars, we can't know what type of organisms they are and how they might have evolved to exploit the harsh conditions on Mars. They only look morphologically like our lichens but physiologically they might be very different. The look would just be exploitation of a morphology that works well under adverse conditions.

You said "Haven't we agreed these fractures were once below the surface and only relatively recently exposed by the impact?"

Are you saying that all the fractures we now see on the surface were already there prior to the impact or just the ones that have crust growing over them? I don't think you mean that. However, My position is that I think that many of the fractures might have existed pre-impact and had various organisms growing in them underground. I think the impact might have created conditions for the organisms that were underground to be dispersed and they rapidly germinated and grew over nearby rock surfaces. The nearest would have been on the fractures on which they had been living under the surface. I wonder if the wide dispersal of the berries might not have been related to the incidence of impacts over billions of years.

You said "If you say lichens grew after the impact why this spot and not all of the ejecta we have passed?"
I think I have already posited that we have'nt seen these phenomena before because the crusts deteriorate, drop off and become one with the soil in the older impacts. We are just lucky to have stumbled upon this relatively fresh crater where remnants of the crust still exist.

I still think Conception has further surprises to heap on us. Perhaps we should wait to propose biochemistries when further info is available. Unfortunately Oppy doesn't do biochemistry.



Posts: 169

Reply: 329

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 10:48 PM 

Don't be too harsh Ben. I think Horton heardawho may have missed that the rock in 121 fractured at an angle so the side near to the camera shows bedding. The expectation on first glance would have been that the therefore the coated side was along a bedding plane.

The thing is that the 'sides count' would be meaningless in any case as dessication cracking can also cause separation between layers which could have fracture fill (although without surface detrius embedded). See the image at 121 although this disruption is almost certainly impact generated, there may have been a pre existing separation that encouraged this. Also a vertical dessication crack does not have to be planar. A quick look at the terrain traversed to date gives plenty of examples of curved fracturing.

I can understand why Winston for example keeps insisting he sees biological influences everwhere on Mars. As an obviously highly qualified albeit retired biologist (apologies for the generalist categorisation Winston) this is his comfort zone and it is absolutely impossible for him to contemplate a surface without water or life. What I do find surprising is his opposition to the JPL model as this model provides the highest possibility of an environment where micron-biological life could have developed in early Mars.

What does concern me is that valuable contributors like Bill become discouraged and cease to participate. I have noted that his extremely inciteful and explanative posts have tapered off both in frequency and content. This is definitely a most detrimental outcome and something I would dearly like to see reversed.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 330

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 11:03 PM 

er, Ben you seem to be correct. Here is a shadow higlighted version of the reply 321. I can see the bedding planes in this version. I think I was fooled because the rock seems to have an oblique fracture and I took the "top" section of the fracture to be the top plane. That's why I always, always, prefer 3D views. I wonder why many of the images of Concepcion rocks are not 3D?

I will keep an eye out for a "real" example...

Meanwhile, it's back to the Winter Olympics. Yay, Canadia! ( Just won a gold in a bobsled event.)


Posts: 3062

Reply: 331

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 11:34 PM 



Posts: 3062

Reply: 332

PostPosted: February 24, 2010 11:53 PM 

Serpens; re your #329. Grateful if you would point me to somewhere where the JPL model is described. I don't know of it. Perhaps if I knew I would accept it.

You're right, I do see biological influences evereywhere on Meridiani and also some places at Gusev. Perhaps that might be partly due to growing up on Martian SF stories. But as I think I explained before, I am only trying to see Mars as it would be if Levin were right and his robot arm sampled martian life from the soil in the Viking landers.

Re. Bill, Don't you realise he cast the first stone, first at Barsoomer and then a second one at me? Why is it that when one responds to such attacks one is blamed for running off valuable contributors. Why should'nt all contributors be valuable. Why should some be more equal than others?

I appreciate his contributions but could do without his snide remarks. But if he contributes again and can't help himself I'll ignore them.

Hope you keep contributing.



Posts: 169

Reply: 333

PostPosted: February 25, 2010 4:00 AM 

The model? Are you really serious Winston? Warmer, wetter, sedimentary sequences ,eolian and shallow lake/playa, depositional and deflation sequences, multiple groundwater recharge resulting in the concretions and fracture fill etc. The McLennan paper described it very well indeed. A superb effort based on objective quality evidence and analysis.

Levin? Like father like son I suspect.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 334

PostPosted: February 25, 2010 6:15 AM 

Serpens; Obviously I knew about that but I didn't know that It was called the JPL model. I thought that you were referring to some new model by some JPL astrobiologist. Your JPL model is why I intimated that I thought some of the berries could be concretions but I think there are some that are probably not so.

Re. Levin, I don't think his son's infelicities invalidated the father's work.



Posts: 101

Reply: 335

PostPosted: February 25, 2010 11:40 AM 

On Horton (321) image the rock at top center appears to have coating on top and on side. Does it clarify some issues?


Posts: 101

Reply: 336

PostPosted: February 25, 2010 12:53 PM 

jamdix, I fixed your flickr image reference.

Flickr doesn't allow direct image references. The proper format is visible only to the authors of the images ( although there is a way around that if you are willing to work a bit )


Posts: 344

Reply: 337

PostPosted: February 25, 2010 1:34 PM 

The coating definitely seems to be much more prevalent on surfaces with straight parallel grain. However, on rocks where the coating has almost eroded away, it appears to have altered the grain to be complex and irregular. For example, see a rock near the top middle in the first image of Winston's #325.


Posts: 344

Reply: 338

PostPosted: February 25, 2010 2:51 PM 

To elaborate a little on my #337, it appears that after the coating erodes away, it leaves behind a characteristic signature in the form of a distinctive irregular grain.

I think we can infer from this that rocks that have the distinctive irregular grain were formerly coated, but the crust has already eroded away completely. This gives us a larger population of rocks to compare. For example, we could do a census to estimate what fraction of the coatings have eroded.

We might be able to parlay this feature into a kind of crater dating method. That is, if we find more craters in this region that exhibit the crust, we can get a rough estimate of their ages relative to each other by determing the fraction of crusts that have eroded.


Posts: 2270

Reply: 339

PostPosted: February 25, 2010 4:25 PM 

Barsoomer; I found the first example of the coating lapping onto the planar layers in Horts sol 2149 image.

Your idea in 338 sounds good but if I am correct and we are navigating progressively younger Meridiani beds ( which may represent a different depositional environment) the changes may have nothing to do with crater age Smile


Posts: 3465

Reply: 340

PostPosted: February 25, 2010 5:10 PM 

sol 2165 ( Feb 25, 2010 ) pan of crater ray:

with 3D links.

The circumnavigation continues.

There is one very peculiar collection of rocks in the ejects that I am hoping will get the fill filter treatment before moving on,

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