On the Road Again - volume 5 - Page 9

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Posts: 3062

Reply: 161

PostPosted: February 16, 2010 11:53 PM 

Serpens; your last comment about Mars being like Earth, just slower, caused me to think again about comparisons. I did not bother to think along these lines earlier even though the concepcion images fairly screamed "what do I look like"?, especially those of the rocks draped with dark covers

Those rotten rocks at concepcion look unlike anything we have seen before on Mars.

Look at this for an earthly comparison

Also, tThese stromatilites below look very much like the rock that Oppy is doing a full suite of measurements on, as Barsoomer pointed out, even as far as the true colour L456 composite goes and even though there are obvious differences.

Not saying that they are stromatolites, but could oppy's instruments give any indication if these were originally organic?

This is another late night "thinking aloud" session and I am almost certain to regret mentioning stromatolites tomorrow but I've looked through many of the images of the "fill" draping the rocks and there are many aspects of them that resemble stromatolites. The presence of the berries caused me to avoid that line of thought but a closer look showed that the berries do not appear to be a component part of the "fill" but there are other small filaments and spore like bodies which seem to be.


Bill Harris

Posts: 72

Reply: 162

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 10:35 AM 

A fresh helping of PanCams and MI's awaits at Exploratorium.

Still some data dropouts and they're doing a lot of the L7-R1 stereo pairs.



Posts: 3465

Reply: 163

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 11:31 AM 

sol 2157 ( Feb 17, 2010 ) MI pan:

with links to 3D pairs and location.


Posts: 344

Reply: 164

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 11:41 AM 

The MIs show the coating as looking old and well-worn---perhaps older than the rocks they coat, some of which look more fresh, at least in the pancams.

It might be that the coating involves fragments of the evaporite pavement that adhered to younger deeper rocks as they burst through the pavement during the impact. Just brainstorming here.

If the coating is fracture fill that previously joined the rock to another rock that split apart from it, we might expect to see some cases where the two parts are lying side by side.

What happened to the exfoliation idea? Is that still viable?


Posts: 3465

Reply: 165

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 12:17 PM 

sol 2157 MI 3D detail of edge of "blue stuff":

The "blue stuff" edges seem to be composed of elongated grains oriented normal to the erosion edge. Some of the longer grains curve back onto themselves.

OK, the $64K question: Are these grains ancient ( billions and billions of years as Carl Sagan would have said ) - or are they evidence of a currently active process?

( Whadd'a ya' mean you can't see them!? )

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 166

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 12:30 PM 

I don't want to bore everyone by harping on the same old tune, but I have a pretty good idea what these fills are, and it is hard not to speak up. My explanation has been banned from the Unmanned Spaceflight site, and may also be banned from any open discussion among the members of the rover science team. Ever since I realized that there has been at least one impact-surge event on these plains subsequent to the Victoria and Endurance impacts, it has made sense to me that the fracture fills are solidified surge-fines that were pushed into fractures in the underlying bedrock during the event. This is consistent with the fills including coarser debris swept into the fractures with the fines. It is also consistent with the surrounding rock being unaltered by fill creation as the time available would be very short before the wet fill material froze and the lost it's water-ice to the atmosphere.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 167

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 12:49 PM 

Hort; Nice MI in reply #163. Are you planning to do MI Stereo pairs? I see some very provocative filaments and even crinoid-like shapes in your MI pano that might only be resolved in a 3D.

Are you planning to do a colourized MI pano? Even though the image is not ideal one should still be able to assemble reasonable colourizations of relevant areas on the rock surface, including those filaments, Berry stems on berries, etc.



Posts: 3465

Reply: 168

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 1:00 PM 

Kye, wouldn't most cracks already be filled with dust when a surge occurs?

Wouldn't the blast wave be mostly parallel to the ground except near the impact event.

At a distance from the blast how is a surge not like a sudden violent gust of wind?

The most likely mechanism for a blast to fill any unfilled cracks is for the fine ejecta tossed high into the sky to rain back onto the ground ( an into any exposed cracks ) - hours after the surge event.

But only the most recent cracks would not already be filled by the fine wind blown dust, so the blast contribution to the fill would be small.

What distinctive feature of surges do you think I am missing?


Posts: 3465

Reply: 169

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 1:16 PM 

er, Winston, see the link 3D pairs in the Flickr image comments for the 3D pairs.

Yes, I plan on colorizing the MI - although the MI was done around 3PM and the pancam images were done hours earlier - so the shadows will not match at all. And, of course, since the surface is not flat the pancam to MI map will have errors using affine registration.

It totally amazes me that the science guys see no value in, er, seeing the MI images colorized by the pancam images. A pancam pixel covers about 100 MI pixels so features larger than 10 pixels in the MI will be colored "correctly" ( assuming an accurate pancam to MI map. )

More information is always better than less information.


Posts: 2270

Reply: 170

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 1:59 PM 

Kye; Just a couple of counter points.

Wind driven material is normally sorted with the coarse material at the bottom.
Hence the dust would be the last to fall to the ground and fractures would already be filled with coarse material.

The fill material is harder than the meridiani beds so what subsequent process caused this?

The fill layers appear to accrete inward from the fracture surfaces which is hard to explain under your scenario.

Barsoomer ; I have been looking for a fracture that has split open showing the fill on either side but I guess the impact forces cause seperation leaving them some distance apart.

I may have been the one who brought up exfoliation but with my limited memory I don't remember in what context. Please refresh.

Hort ; I can barely see them but would expect the fill to be composed of laminar grains that built up the layer. ( sort of like what happens inside a geode)

Now what about all the house pictures.
If you were involved, you did a good job.
I know because I am in the process of building a new home for my daughter.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 171

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 2:40 PM 

Here is the colorized version od the sol 2157 MI pan.

I don't have a lot of confidence in the color registration. The OOF ( Out Of Focus ) areas are definitely wrong.

I used the interesting weathered area of reply 165 as one of the control points, so I think the colorizing around that area is somewhat accurate. The "greenish" areas are probably not "green". The idea is to compare the color between areas in the same picture.

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 172

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 3:04 PM 

Horton, Yes, I think that most or all of the bedrock fractures would be full of other material before the surge, the shrinkage fracturing having happened in a much earlier time. Debris or aeolian dust filled most of the fractures then as now. That is probably why only a small minority of fractures along the traverse have been only partially filled with surge fines. Yes the surge would move material primarily parallel to the ground. Fractures running parallel to the local surge flow might be more likely to be partially emptied by surge erosion or filled by surge deposition. Some local topographic features might make erosion or deposition more likely. I think that there is somewhere in this an explanation for the fill laminations and the fills that don't fill the fractures but I don't know if we could ever understand it, given the largely unstudied physics involved. I know that there has been fluidized material rushing over these plains at least once since Victoria and Endurance formed. I'm afraid the only way to find out more is to accept and then observe.


Posts: 344

Reply: 173

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 3:20 PM 

How about this idea concerning the coating:

The rock surfaces that were exposed to the atmosphere prior to the impact were altered by that contact over a very long period of time. By this means, the rocks developed a thin "skin" of altered material, kind of like the duricrust.

The violence of the impact caused this skin to peel off in some places. The peeled skin is what constitutes the coating.

If this idea is correct, then one would expect the coating to be only on the oldest, most weathered surfaces. The surfaces that were underground or covered prior to the impact would not have the coating. These surfaces would presumably also be more fresh-looking, for example, with less of a dust covering.

Conversely, if the fracture fill idea is correct, then the coating should be on surfaces that were covered before the impact, and not on the surfaces that were exposed pre-impact. So this potentially provides a test of these competing theories.

Personally, I am less interested in the coating than I am in the berries-on-stems. I wish they would expedite getting some MIs of those.


Posts: 169

Reply: 174

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 6:53 PM 

Kye. Looking as the blue forum even Dr Burt, the Doyen of the surge hypothesis does not believe that the fill is a surge artifact, although predictably he rejects the concept of ground water.
Trying to understand this ejecta is like doing a jigsaw puzzle with most pieces missing. We can see only see one or two edge pieces (the ejecta with the old surface on one side) and really don’t know what position or depth the others came from. Some have beautifully even layering. Others show cross bedding at varying steepness. Hard layers, fragile heavily eroded layers, fracture fill adhering to some vertical surfaces and also as Ben pointed out, enclosed. No way to even guess how it all fits together. But no evidence of any thick layering that one would expect from surge.


Posts: 344

Reply: 175

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 11:10 PM 

The 3D image in reply 165 brings to mind Horton's idea that magnetism may be involved in SOD. Indeed, the grains in this image look like they are sticking together to form hanging mini-fibers. Perhaps magnetic forces play a greater role in areology than in geology and may help explain the fibrous bedding we see in some rocks.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 176

PostPosted: February 17, 2010 11:47 PM 


I, like you, would really like to see a definite effort to MI image some of those berries on stems, and they are a number of examples at concepcion.

It seems strange that they didn't try to get the good examples at Eagle or the craters nearby, only imaging berries that were still attached to rock by MI and showing well developed wind tails. There were a number of berries on the edges of rocks that were well within the work volume of the MI, as demonstrated by the Pancam images, and that could have been taken but they seem to have been avoided. I can't see why they did not take such images then as publishing such images would not have done irrepairable damage to the concretion hypothesis and might have significantly expanded our knowledge of the berries.

Re. your hypothesis on the impact melt / fracture fill discussion, I wonder if pre-impact there would have been any exposed rocks at all, as most of the rocks we now see would have been below the surface then. They might not have been far below the surface and therefore, imho, some of the rocks at the surface now might have been subject to low regular water flow related to the daily water exchange between the surface and the atmosphere aand some of the voids we now see might indeed have been transporting films of water at that time. In addition, getting back to my mars life speculations it seems not inconceivable that putative organisms in those rocks might have contributed to those fracture fills or skins while underground.

Thus rock voids and encased berries would have predated the impact in this scenario. and post impact aeolian erosion and weathering of the ejecta stones might have contributed to the skins etc., that we see today.

I also think that some sort of modification of the rock surfaces that we see could well have been caused by the impact, if not by impact melt, and this might be what we are also seeing today.

If you look carefully at the MI's, as I know you do, you'll see a number of instances of tiny filaments, crinoid looking bodies, etc. There are also some areas which suggest that they are relatively small diameter tubes associated with some berries. Indeed, I am going back to the idea that there may be a number of types of berries. perhaps some might be fossil organs of a type of stromatolite-like organism while some might be concretions which themselves might have an association with organisms.

Just thinking aloud again late in the night.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 177

PostPosted: February 18, 2010 9:26 AM 

Hi Barsoomer;

Below is a crop of one of Hort's yesterday's MI 3D's in anaglyph format. I am trying to show some of the filaments - some curved -, what looks like a snapshot of two berries being formed on the cusps of a strange structure, and a perfectly flattened cylindrical object that I think might be part of a berry stem, along with other sundry shapes. The magnification is only x 1.1 so, to see the objects, one may have to magnify the areas of interest in stereoimagemaker.

These small details are what makes me think that the "dark coverings" may be fossilized tissues that were uncovered by the impact and later the surfaces were removed to show the structures below.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 178

PostPosted: February 18, 2010 9:30 AM 

Oops! The image is below

Original Size here



Posts: 3465

Reply: 179

PostPosted: February 18, 2010 11:11 AM 

sol 2158 ( Feb 18, 2010 ) 3D EDF ( Extended depth of Field ) MI of crust and berries on Chocolate Hills:

with an image note link to a several very interesting berries.

The image had to be turned sideways to show the 3D.


Posts: 344

Reply: 180

PostPosted: February 18, 2010 11:28 AM 

Thanks, Winston. Plenty of food for thought there. More than one population of berries does seem likely, unless they have a complicated "life-cycle" that includes many different phases.

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