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Fractures in the Martian northern lowland plains

Fractures in the northern lowland plains
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on April 21, 2022 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of a spot in the Martian northern lowland plains.

Generally the surface of these lowland plains — especially at high latitudes above 30 degrees — tends to appear very water saturated, producing blobby features and what look like mud volcanoes. This picture however features something different, what the scientists have labeled fractures, geological features that appeared caused by dry conditions and sudden quake-like events. The break in the fracture near the top of the photo illustrates why water flow had little if anything to do with its formation. Other fractures in the full image show the same thing. Also the stippled surface along the picture’s right edge also suggest there is little near surface water or ice at this location.

The location, as shown by the overview map below, suggests that water might still have played a part, but only a long time ago.

Overview map

The white dot about 235 miles to the southwest of the landing site of Mars Pathfinder (the red dot) marks the location of these fractures. At 19 degrees north latitude, there should not much much near surface ice at this location. We are looking at either dust or bedrock. If the bedrock is hardened flood lava it is very unclear where it came from, as there appear to be no nearby volcanoes or vents.

The terrain here however was certainly shaped by the hypothesized catastrophic floods that scientists think poured out of Valles Marineris several billion years ago, and formed the proposed intermittent seas noted on the map. If you go to the image link and zoom in on its context map, you can see how the many mesas in this region have been shaped by those catastrophic floods. Each has a tail pointing away from the resurgence from Valles Marineris, as if a flood had rushed by traveling from south to north.

The fractures however were probably not caused by those floods, but by some tectonic or quake event that caused the ground to suddenly crack and separate. Whether that cracking occurred before or after the floods is quite unclear.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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