Conscious Choice cover

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.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Twisted and tilted bedrock in Martian crater

tilted strata in Martin Crater
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated cropped, and reduced to post here, is only a small example of the strangely tilted and twisted strata in the central peak region of 38-mile-wide Martin Crater on Mars. The full image shows more.

The picture was taken on January 12, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The section I’ve cropped out shows a series of stratified strata that are are not only significantly tipped from the horizontal, but have also been bent and deformed.

The crater itself is located about 260 miles south of Valles Marineris, as shown on the overview map below.

Overview map

The white box in Martin Crater indicates the location of the above photo. It covers most of the central peak of this crater.

What caused these bedding planes to get tilted and twisted as we see them? And were they shaped this way before or after the impact that created the crater? The two features in the overview map that make me think these strata existed this way before the impact are the various north-south trending ridges and east-west cracks seen throughout this region. They suggest that this plateau south of Valles Marineris was at one point squeezed in an east-west direction, producing the ridges, as well as stretched in a north-south direction, producing the cracks. Such pushing and pulling could have also tilted and twisted the rock strata in Martin Crater.

Though this is a wild guess, it appears based on this paper on the geology of this region to be reasonable, though there remain many uncertainties and questions about that conclusion.

All we really know is that some big geological event in the far past reshaped this terrain, massively. The strata inside Martin Crater gives us an impressive peak at that event.


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • Lee Stevenson

    This is certainly one of the best “cool images”, and surely a candidate for a “what the heck” image! I keep looking at the cliffs on the lower left of the full image, and then at the 90°inverted strata so close by…. And at so lower depth…. What the heck could cause such a massive distortion without destroying the strata? The distortions seem to have circular patterns, so probs crater related… But how? My only thought is perhaps relating to an ice and rock mix in the bedrock being more flexible than just pure rock? I can look at a sedimentary rock layer on earth and have a decent guess how it ended up that way…. Looking at this just makes me confused!!

  • Lee: Another explanation for this strata just occurred to me. If you look at the wider MRO context camera image (available here), it is clear that this feature is at the crater’s central peak, though that central peak appears to have been worn away.

    Maybe we are seeing the base of that peak, the rest long gone because of wind and maybe even ice erosion. The vertical twisted strata we see would make sense for the central peak of an impact crater.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *