On the Road Again - volume 5 - Page 7

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Posts: 3465

Reply: 121

PostPosted: February 14, 2010 9:15 PM 

Sol 2154 ( Feb 14, 2010 ) colorized MI pan:

Thanks for the kudos Ben.

I am a little late with this version because of a busy personal day - plus I photographed and processed another sunset this evening - plus I have spent a fair amount of time watching the Winter Olympics.

The new bit of oddness ( to me ) are the numerous berries and fragments wedged in the crack crossing the pan. Also notice that the berries below the crack are more eroded from the matrix than the ones above the crack. Weird.

Er, the location of the MI pancam is the location 2 link in reply 116.

If there is any interest I will do the colorized MIs.


Posts: 344

Reply: 122

PostPosted: February 14, 2010 10:08 PM 

Rock with very complex bedding, if that is what it is.


Posts: 344

Reply: 123

PostPosted: February 14, 2010 10:30 PM 

(Top Right) Another rock with exposed rough face. From the other, smooth face and angle of the bedding, appears to be a slanted section of the subsurface. Pristine or highly eroded? (Love to get a closeup of this.)

Bill Harris

Posts: 72

Reply: 124

PostPosted: February 14, 2010 10:48 PM 

Ben wondered:

"6. I can't determine where this image is located..."

Here is an MI Index for Chocolate Hills, Sols 2151 and 2154.

Lots of interesting views on these latest Pancams and MIs.


Bill Harris

Posts: 72

Reply: 125

PostPosted: February 14, 2010 10:53 PM 

Or, more properly, an index to Hort's MI Panoramas for those two Sols.

And yes, thanks to Hort.


Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 126

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 12:42 AM 

Ben, re your list of questions in reply 120, referring to Horton's MI panorama in reply 116. I like lists of questions. Thanks:

1. Yes, a little bit of fracture fill is just visible at the top left. I take the rest to be the familiar bright rock.
2. I think that there have been examples of both shiny and dull berries since Eagle Crater but I haven't made a study of this.
3. I don't know if the dark specks on the bright rock in this image are in the rock or resting on the surface.
4. Yes, the berries in the crack look to me like loose berries and berry fragments that have been moved into the crack from elsewhere.
5. This face of Chocolate Hills overall shows fine bedding more or less like much other fine bedding at Meridiani. It could be that this face has had less erosion because the fill, which also seems to be eroding, has protected the rock for some of it's time on the surface. I have no idea how rough this face should be, because the degree of difference between bedding layers may not be consistent from place to place and because I don't know how erosion works here.
6. Horton's image shows an area a little down and right of the first MI area. The first MI area on Chocolate hills had good examples of berries embedded in fine fill material and crowded berries and fragments cemented together by fill glue.
7. Thanks again, Horton.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 127

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 8:58 AM 

sol 2154 ( Feb 14, 2010 ) 3D detail of long berry stems near rock "Bilar":

with location links.

Some of the stems are 5 berry diameters long.

How long is tooo long?


Posts: 250

Reply: 128

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 11:25 AM 

Maybe an interesting recent article to consider in the context of this topic:

Martian sheen: Life on the rocks


Posts: 3062

Reply: 129

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 1:57 PM 

Hi MPJ; Thanks for the reference above to Barry E DiGregori's article on Martian Desert Varnish. I have been looking at the rocks at Gusev imaged by Spirit for signs of such sheens and actually, just from visual evidence alone, it appears that most rocks are covered with a sheen that might well turn out to be desert varnish.

At Meridiani, Oppy's images show that some of the Berries appear to be well glazed while the majority are not.

If the glazing is due to a martian type of desert varnish then one might expect that glazed berries would have been exposed to the atmosphere for at least about 1000 or so years to acquire the sheen if such putative organisms operate in the same manner as on Earth. But of course that is very highly speculative.

The current controversy about the age of the Concepcion crater might benefit from a data point or so related to glossiness/darkness of berry surfaces. So far a number of the berries in the first MI pano appear to have metallic glints on their surfaces while those from the second MI pano appear to have loose unvarnished surfaces. The Berries in the second pano are currently from the exposed area and would be the ones expected to have show more varnish. That they do not show the varnish might suggest that their exposure might have been for a quite short time frame

However the question arises as to the origin of the reflective glint on the surfaces of the berries in the first pano. Kye has suggested that these chaotically dispersed berries, many of which seem to be melded to one another have been glued by the action of a sulphate glue. However, none of the earlier berries seen partially enclosed in the sulphate substrate have looked like the concepcion berries (just check the popcorn berries). I prefer to think of them as probably melded by impact heat rather than bonded by sulphate glue.

I have been looking for meridiani rocks around the other craters visited by Oppy showing coverings similar to the fracture fill/impact meld coverings at concepcion. I have found only one Spirit rock that has a covering resembling it. No other Meridiani rocks look like the Concepcion ones in that regard.


Bill Harris

Posts: 72

Reply: 130

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 4:45 PM 

A "sheen" is not necessarily and indication of desert varnish. A surface can acquire a "polish" from aeons of wind abrasion.

Here is a good paper on Desert Varnish:


Remember, desert varnish is common on Earth, but is proposed, but not yet proven, on Mars.



Posts: 2270

Reply: 131

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 6:35 PM 

Bill; Many of the cracked berries I have seen along the way appear to have an actual rind that provides the sheen.

Winston; The presence of the both types of berries we have observed could imply that some have been recently eroded from the host rock and others are lag berries that have been exposed on the surface for a time
long enough to acquire the Coating.

The preponderance of non-coated berries at this location is consistent with its young age .

The few coated ones could be from pre-impact rocks that had been exposed a long time.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 132

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 6:43 PM 

sol 2153 ( Feb 13, 2010 ) L257 4x3 right half of Concepcion interior:

The left half has not yet been downlinked.

There is a fair amount of color "patching" in the pan.

The ripple patterns look "different" that the normal Meridiani ripple patterns in the interior.

I will leave it to the dune guys to characterize the difference.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 133

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 7:16 PM 

Bill; Sorry if I gave the impression that I thought Desert varnish was proven on Mars. I've been following the desert varnish story fairly carefully for sometime now and know that this is not so.

What I was trying to get across, unsuccessfully, is that there is a distinct possibility that there is desert varnish on Mars. If one assumes that there is, and if one also assumes that the berries might exhibit some desert varnish or even that a wind induced sheen might take a fairly long time to become evident(I admit these are fairly outlandish assumptions) then the amount of dark "sheen" on berry surfaces might offer some correlation with age of exposure. If one inputs this into the concepcion berry surface characteristics it might be possible to eventually get some very rough indication of the time that the berries were exposed and also thereby provide a minor data point into the fracture fill / impact melt story.

I was just thinking aloud as usual without any attempt to refine my thoughts.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 134

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 7:23 PM 

Ben; Thanks for the points you made in your #131 above. I had'nt seen them before I wrote and entered my 133 above


Bill Harris

Posts: 72

Reply: 135

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 7:26 PM 

Ben-- There is a characteristic surface to the Berries, but I can't say that it is due to a desert varnish. I'm looking forward to seeing "representative" samples of the sand and berries on the surface here for comparison with the views of older surfaces.

Hort-- I'm not a dune guy (I've not even visited Arrakis), but I'd say that the sand is different-- particle size distribution, composition, etc. This area is unique in that there is a lot of fractured and pulverized rock weathering and producing different material.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 136

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 7:38 PM 

Bill; Thanks for the excellent article you referenced in your #130.


Bill Harris

Posts: 72

Reply: 137

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 7:38 PM 

Winston-- I didn't meant to sound like I was poo-pooing your ideas, we're seeing so many new and wonderful things at this site that I tend to get arm-wavy without realizing it. I'm still trying to understand what we've seen just the past few days.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 138

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 7:43 PM 

Bill; Yes, this is the first time since Eagle and Endeavour that I have been eagerly looking forward to what the next exploratorium release will bring. There's something there for all of us.



Posts: 169

Reply: 139

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 8:49 PM 

LWS. On reviwewing raw data from the JPL site I note that the berries exhumed in the early trenching experiments were prisitine and polished as opposed the eroded berries which tended towards abraded surfaces.


Posts: 344

Reply: 140

PostPosted: February 15, 2010 9:24 PM 

Second rock from left, back row. That rock looks truly alien---something like a Rube Goldberg contraption.

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