yardangs

December 19, 2012

Bye-bye, crater

A piece of Mars: On Earth, it’s typically water that erodes a landscape, as rivers cut down rocks, storms trigger landslides, and ocean waves eat away at shorelines. On Mars, it’s usually the wind that slowly grinds down a landscape. […]
October 9, 2012

A mighty wind

A piece of Mars: I just adore that the wind can do this to a landscape. Over a long period of time, two different winds have scratched deep grooves in a rocky surface. Wind-carved rocks like this are called “yardangs”. […]
August 10, 2012

And the wind blew

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: These are rocks on Mount Sharp, where the Curiosity rover will be headed in the coming months. Like many of the surfaces in Gale crater, these have been streamlined by sandblasting over the eons. […]
July 29, 2012

Wind erodes rocks into swirls

A piece of Mars: When the wind sandblasts at layered rocks, some pretty swirly patterns emerge. These are flat layers that take on a stacked wedding-cake appearance on an outcrop elongated by the wind. The direction of the stacks indicates […]
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 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 14, 2012

Swirls like ribbon ice cream

A piece of Mars: When the wind erodes layered rocks, it can create a dramatic swirly pattern like this. It looks like ribbon ice cream to me. Mmm, rocks. (HiRISE ESP_011582_1730)
May 7, 2012

Wind on high

A piece of Mars: We are looking way up high on Arsia Mons, one of the tallest mountains in the Solar System (its summit is ~19 km high — Mt. Everest tops out at 8.848 km; the location of this […]
April 30, 2012

Of sandy lanes

A piece of Mars: Of Sandy Lanes. The yellowish-tan rocks are tall high-standing hills that have been scoured by the wind. Dark sand slowly cuts down the whiter rocks in the valleys, slowly creating majestic lanes bordered by steep, sharp […]