June 18, 2012

Generations of erosion

A piece of Mars: Sometime in the past, large ripples wandered the dusty lanes of this landscape, sandblasting the hills as they marched on by. Those ripples stopped moving and turned into the fossils you see here. Their bumpy texture […]
June 17, 2012

Enigma

A piece of Mars: Here is an example of an aeolian enigma. Dunes are depositional, meaning they are made of stuff that piles up on a surface. But these dunes show the strata of the underlying rock within them, which […]
June 6, 2012

Stretched out

A piece of Mars: Dunes near the north pole take on a stretched appearance. It’s been proposed that ice in the dunes acts to cement them, which makes them look elongated. (HiRISE PSP_010219_2785)
June 4, 2012

Boulder tracks

A piece of Mars: You can’t easily tell here, but you’re looking at a steep slope that is high at the bottom of the image and flattens out at the top of the image (the small dunes at the top […]
June 3, 2012

Active wind erosion

A piece of Mars: Bright rocks are being scoured and shaped by dark (bluish) sand. On Mars, active geologic activity is easy to identify: when there aren’t many craters visible, you’re probably looking at a surface that is undergoing change. […]
May 31, 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)
May 30, 2012

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 […]
May 29, 2012

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 […]
May 28, 2012

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 […]