6 February 2009

Weird Outcrops in Schiaparelli Crater

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Today while we were discussing the section of the MOC paper that I posted about yesterday, we decided to look more closely at one of the figures. In the paper, the authors suggest that the light-colored rocks are on top of the dunes, implying that the dunes are fossilized, were buried and are now being uncovered. We found a HiRISE image of the area and found out that the truth is even stranger. It doesn’t look to me like the light-toned rock is on top of the sand ripples, and in some places, the ridges in the sand gradually merge and become ridges in the rock! And the bedrock itself is really strange looking itself: it reminds me of feathers and scales, though in reality its surface is covered with shallow “scoops” or a “scalloped” texture. My best guess is that this is a fine-grained, soft rock that has been eroded into this texture by the wind. How the light-toned rock and the sand ripples are related, I can’t tell for sure…