On the Road Again - volume 5 - Page 4

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Author Message
Bill Harris

Posts: 72

Reply: 61

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 2:33 PM 

I didn't explain that well. I was talking about the thin flakes on the bottomside of the boulder and on the ground, all in the (enhanced) shadow area at the lower side of the picture.

The (quote)fracture fill(endquote)? I'm becoming not sure what that is. This site should be called "Epiphany Rock", it is surely becoming an "Ah-Ha" experience.

I'm going to make the tentative preliminary presumptive identification of that feature as...



Posts: 344

Reply: 62

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 3:48 PM 

If the berries were formed as frozen droplets of some kind, the stems could be the residue of trails that the droplets left as they flowed over rocks.

Compare this image of freezing rain.

I don't really espouse this, just revisiting the droplet hypothesis in the light of current observations.


Posts: 169

Reply: 63

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 5:18 PM 

LWS - This is indeed a cornucopia of berry delights. But a more prosaic explanation is that cracks formed in the sedimentary rock. Gravity had its way and rubbish (fragments, small berries etc) fell into the crevice. The fracture fill formed, incorporating this material into the mix. I know a 'rocks' approach is much less exciting than a biological cause - but thats the way I see it.

Bill, the image at 57 would fit comfortably into a text as an example of exfoliation. But this is not a common sight at Meridiani so perhaps we should question the mechanism? The classic trapped water freezing model doesn’t seem likely. The only water identified in this area is crystalline and if there was an exchange from the negligible atmospheric water vapor then wouldn’t the exchange mechanism be hydration of kieserite to hexahydrite thence epsomite? This would of course generate an expansion in volume but why would this cause clean separation along a layer rather than disruption of the surface material? This mechanism would also mean that, hexahydrite and epsomite rather than kieserite would have been identified in the surface analysis. This exfoliation of the sedimentary rock seems to be a local occurrence and I lean towards an impact spalling effect.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 64

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 5:30 PM 

Ben; Re. your #52.

Look at this.

Original size here

This thing doesn't look like a rock in this anaglyph anymore. It now perhaps looks more like soil to me that might have been dug up by a rock impacting on it. But when? Alternatively, we might be seeing the last stages of degradation of a rock on the soil. The interesting thing is that the degradation has an appearance of liquid / chemical action rather than wind action


Posts: 3062

Reply: 65

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 5:56 PM 

Ben, Bill, Serpens

Please look at the below image.

Original size here

It shows the surface of one of the pieces of the Chocolate hills rock. The section I would like to get some comments on is the surface which has no fracture fill but has some wavy, perhaps tubular, structures running down the side of the rock. The tubes don't all run in the same direction but seem to sometimes criss cross each other. They don't look like the typical wind tails to me but perhaps they are indeed windtails. Grateful for your views.



Posts: 3465

Reply: 66

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 6:37 PM 

sol 2150 3D MI pairs here. Yuk.

Here is a colorized peek into the shadows of the 2150 MI pan.

And here is the saturated false color 3D of the rock "Jagna" ( reply 65 rock).

You really have to look at the jagged edges of, er, Jagna, in 3D to see just how weird these features are.


Posts: 169

Reply: 67

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 7:33 PM 

LWS, do you mean the paler side? This shows layering and the apparent tubes are the more resistant rock exposed by erosion of softer, bordering layers. It is hard to draw conclusions from this angle but These layers are not parallel and show cross bedding and climbing.

Bill/Ben - is that festooning at the base or just an effect of the angle of observation. But I would guess at sub-aqueous sedimentation and given the depth of layering, more from a shallow lake than playa.

But thanks for the cool image Winston because it clearly shows dessication cracks from the old surface terminating at a specific layer. I wonder what was different about that particular layer? Was it softer which absorbed the cracking forces, or harder, which resisted them. Unfortuately with Opportunities positionally challenged arm I doubt we can get a brush, grind or MI of this layer.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 68

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 7:46 PM 


Beautiful saturated image of Jagna.

Those berry stems that curve over the rock edge and the extended blue "wind tails" seem to speak to a slightly different reality than the mainstream one.

I would refer anyone who has looked at my #64 and #65 to check out the details in your Jagna 3D image. It's superb.



Posts: 2270

Reply: 69

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 7:47 PM 

Winston; I agree with Serpens comments in reply 63 except for impact spalling,IMO exfoliation due to thermal degradation.

Agree with your comments in reply 64 and would refer to it as "rotten" rock.
Very similar to granitic rock in alpine areas (Pikes Peak COLO).
IMO mechanical disintergration caused by thermal break-down (cyclic hot cold) without the need for water.

Image in reply 65; I opt for protruding bedding lenses of harder material associated with festoon bedding.


Posts: 2270

Reply: 70

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 7:54 PM 

Serpens; When I use the term "playa" in defining the Meridiani environment I envision scattered,shallow bodies of water , some small aeolian dunes. and lots of mud flats. Smile


Posts: 344

Reply: 71

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 8:07 PM 

If the apparent blue veins in #65 and #66 are just extensions of bedding planes,

1. why do they branch?

2. why are there gaps?

and most importantly,

3. why would the berries be integral parts of the bedding plane? Note that the blue veins appear to continuously extend to stems and berries. The veins cannot be both wind tails and bedding planes; which is it?

The concretion hypothesis assumes that the berries formed subsequent to the rock "matrix," does it not? In that case, why the imtimate relationship to the bedding planes?


Posts: 3062

Reply: 72

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 8:11 PM 

Ben, Serpens;

Thanks for your responses. Sounds quite reasonable. The rotten rock explanation sounds plausible except for the moist looking condition of the surface. I can accept the wind tails explanation for my "tubes" but why would the resistant rock that is not scoured away take on the same colouration as the berries? Could they be indurated with haematite and therefore be part of the berries and not of the salt rock which would have enclosed them? Also, would wind be expected to be going up the rock slope normally? Could moisture, somewhat in the vein of Barsoomer's earlier question have been involved in the etching of the tails.

Thanks again.


Bill Harris

Posts: 72

Reply: 73

PostPosted: February 10, 2010 10:16 PM 

Serpens, Reply 63:

"The classic trapped water freezing model doesn’t seem likely."

I got hurried and blurted that out without the "But, then..." caveat. The freezing is a classic effect, but not likely here since there isn't enough water.

Good comments.

I'm still trying to figure out the B'berries in the new MI's. The lighting is pitiful but the images can be juggled. It'll be great when we get "better" images of that "fracture fill feature". One thing I do note-- look at the shape distribution of the berries/etc: they range from rounded to angular, and it _looks_ like many are still in-place in the matrix.

Attached is my todays-best-shot for this batch of MI's.

"Jagna" is strange-- let me look at it more and get back.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 74

PostPosted: February 11, 2010 12:02 AM 

Just one more image tonight.

THis is a crop from Hort's #60 MI pano. I've cropped and highlighted a portion of that pano. It shows what looks to me like a bunch of berries on a smooth stalk that bends around a corner. Its unlike any other berry image I've seen before. Willing to bet now that the MI's in the nearby area of curved "tubes" or wind tails might be just as spectacular

Original Size here



Posts: 3465

Reply: 75

PostPosted: February 11, 2010 1:53 AM 

Er, the reply 74 MI pan required "the big gun" ( PTAssmblr ) to create the panorama. This program has one weird feature: the joins are at a 45 degree angle at the top and bottom. If the joined images have different brightness then the zig-zap is very noticable.

Here is the autostitch version ( colorized, blended and white balanced ) of the bottom of the pan:

This is about as good as I can get from the JPGs. As I said in an earlier post - yuk.

It always surprises me that after 6 years of dancing the bear still sometimes misteps when dancing the Fandango.

But of course, the bear is now ancient with failing eyesight, fading energy, arthritic arms and a host of other problems - so perhaps we should still be amazed that the bear dances at all.

Time to sleep.


Posts: 169

Reply: 76

PostPosted: February 11, 2010 2:48 AM 

Ben, I really cannot see this layering coming from from the playa environment you put forward. Deeper (a meter or so - not an ocean) water and seasonal deposition I think. But perhaps there are connotations to the lower gravity and higher wind velocities that I cannot get my mind around. Kinda like the coal beds and fossilised trees in Antarctica. But one thing is certain - the surge hypothesis is dead and gone. Pity because it pulled the fascination of Mars back to the mundane.


Posts: 169

Reply: 77

PostPosted: February 11, 2010 3:57 AM 

Winston. 'moist looking '. The chemistry says it all. If it was moist the current salts could not exist. Even at Phoenix, as I understand it with ice only centimeters below the surface in high summer, not a trace of water vapor transfer was identified in the soil - with an instrument specifically designed to find such. Not wishing to push your buttons but have you ever considered completely arid, non biological explanation fot Meridiani. Not saying that this is fact throughout the history, but moist?


Posts: 3062

Reply: 78

PostPosted: February 11, 2010 8:37 AM 

Hi Hort; After I posted reply #75 late last night I thought the berry stems had to be an image processing artifact but it was too late to do anything about it. Thanks for the correction. The autostitch version looks so much better. But I do hope they redo the whole set of images with better lighting.

Serpens; Sorry to have pushed your buttons by using the term "moist looking". I'm not saying its moist just that it is moist looking, i.e. that it looks moist, NOT that it IS moist. You said "Even at Phoenix, as I understand it with ice only centimeters below the surface in high summer, not a trace of water vapor transfer was identified in the soil - with an instrument specifically designed to find such.". I also understand this but, as you said, the Ice is there just cms below the surface. How do you know that there isn't some water exchange with the atmosphere at some time of the day or at some other period that the Instrument could not capture? The other instrument had very great difficulty in identifying ice even when it was there for all to see. Have you ever considered that the instrumentation for identifying traces of water in such dry and extremely cold conditions might need some improvement?

You also said " Not wishing to push your buttons but have you ever considered completely arid, non biological explanation fot Meridiani. Not saying that this is fact throughout the history". Yes, I have considered it but, even though I respect the views of the expert geologists, rejected it based on perhaps irrational visual evidence from the images at Gusev and mainly Meridiani. I start from Gil Levin's viking experiments and progress through the "mud" found at the MER sites, through the liquid LIKE traces found on BOunce rock soon after Oppy landed on it and numerous other images which suggest to me that some liquid recently flowed or ponded in the areas imaged. Then I look at the Micro images from Oppy which often show very bio-looking micro-objects (of course they can be interpreted as geological but they look very biological to me). I am very enthusiastic about this and make a number of mistakes in my enthusiasm but my posts here are in the nature of thinking aloud as an idea comes to me.

Now, may I ask if you have ever considered a biological explanation for some of the wonders at Meridiani? Are you 100 % sure that fine dust fully explains the ponded like areas at meridiani? Are you 100% sure that the current hypothesis on the existence of those trillions of blueberries on the surface of meridiani after they were formed a few billion years ago is correct? Do you ever think "suppose I am wrong"?

I start from the position that I am probably wrong but I still express my views on alternative possibilities. One day in the distant future mankind will know what is actually up there. At present, even with all the sophisticated equipment curently on and around Mars, we can't be sure of exactly what is true. IMHO.



Posts: 73

Reply: 79

PostPosted: February 11, 2010 8:59 AM 

Serpens wrote:

“not a trace of water vapor transfer was identified in the soil - with an instrument specifically designed to find such.”

What we know is water goes to ground every night and ice is just below the surface at the Phoenix site. I think timing of instrument placement relative to phase change is more likely the cause of a negative result.

Don’t mean to push any buttons.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 80

PostPosted: February 11, 2010 9:10 AM 


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