Monthly Archives: May 2012

Festoons of geology past

A piece of Mars: Erosion by sandblasting has revealed layers in volcanic rock. Likely nearly horizontal, the wind here has shaped the surface so the layers appear to be festoons, swirling across the landscape. (HiRISE ESP_021627_1975)

Swirls and stripes

A piece of Mars: I know, I keep showing ripples. But they're all so different. This one has a distinct swirl appearance, like it's stretched and twisted taffy. The complexities of the winds that create these things are not at ...

Visited wind streaks

A piece of Mars: Back in 2007, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity spent a great deal of time investigating the rim of Victoria crater. Here is the northern rim of the crater, showing three dark (bluish) sandy streaks formed by ...

Complex winds

A piece of Mars: My brain keeps seeing it as stuffed pillows, but it's the other way around -- the sun is coming from the upper left, so the centers of the little polygons are low and their edges are ...

Tuning forks of the wind.

A piece of Mars: Small, dark ripples have overridden larger, bright ones. The larger ones have some interesting shapes -- arcs, splits that resemble tuning forks, and even circles. Their shape is accentuated by the smaller, very regular ripples between ...

Fashionable stripes of Mars

A piece of Mars: Is it the latest in patterns for ties, or is it Mars? (Can it be both?) These are some unusually regular dunes on Mars, separated by a bouldered surface. The dunes have interesting pale bands common ...

At the edge

A piece of Mars: Old, subdued dunes (in blue) near the south pole on Mars. This shows the edge of a dune field, with white rock-strewn surface beyond the sand. Criss-crossing the sand are the tracks that dust devils have ...

When dunes die

A piece of Mars: This is what dunes look like when they die. At least on Mars. On Earth they typically get buried or eroded away. On Mars geology works slowly enough that the steep slopes of dunes are gradually ...

Staircases

A piece of Mars: Sedimentary layers on Mars are revealed by sandblasting. These are giant staircases dropping down towards the upper right, looking like some old eroded temple or city. Some bluish sand remains as a reminder of what scoured ...

May 20th Solar Eclipse

On May 20th, 2012, our area of Northern California was treated to a partial solar eclipse.  After nabbing some eclipse viewing glasses from work, courtesy of NASA, I was excited to share this experience with my kids – they had ...