The Enigmas on Mars 10a
Geysers Discovered on Mars
Artwork Credit: Arizona State University/Ron Miller

Spring Arrives With a Bang

Sand-laden jets shoot into the polar sky in this view by noted space artist Ron Miller. It shows the Martian south polar icecap as southern spring begins.

Sunday, 20 August 2006
BBC News


Geysers spewing sand and dust hundreds of feet into the "air" have been discovered on Mars, scientists say. Images from a camera orbiting Mars have shown the 100 mph jets of carbon dioxide erupt through ice at the planet's south pole, Arizona State University says.

The orbiting camera, called the Thermal Emission Imaging System (Themis), is on the Mars Odyssey probe.The geyser debris leaves dark spots, fan-like markings and spider-shaped features on the ice cap.

The scientists said geysers erupted when sunlight warming the ice turned frozen carbon dioxide underground into high-pressure gas.

"If you were there, you'd be standing on a slab of carbon dioxide ice," said the university's Dr Phil Christensen."All around you, roaring jets of CO2 gas are throwing sand and dust a couple of hundred feet into the air."

Dr Christensen said the process was "unlike anything that occurs on Earth".

His team discovered the jets through examining more than 200 Themis visible and infrared images. The findings were published in the latest edition of the journal Nature. 

Source: BBC News

Artwork Credit: Arizona State University/Ron Miller
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Martian Pole Freckled with Geysers

Monday 21st August 2006
Unlike anything on Earth By Lucy Sherriff 


Every spring, the southern polar cap on Mars almost fizzes with carbon dioxide, as the surface is broken by hundreds of geysers throwing sand and dust hundreds of feet into the Martian "air".

The discovery was announced in the journal Nature by researchers at the Arizona State University, based on data from the Thermal Emission Imaging System on the Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Images sent back by the probe showed that as the sun began to warm the pole, the polar cap began to break out in dark spots. Over the days and weeks that followed, these spots formed fan-like markings, and spidery patterns. As the sun rose higher in the Martian sky, the spots and fans became more numerous.

"Originally, scientists thought the spots were patches of warm, bare ground exposed as the ice disappeared," said lead scientist Phil Christensen. "But observations made with THEMIS on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter told us the spots were nearly as cold as the carbon dioxide ice, which is at minus 198 degrees Fahrenheit."

The team concluded that the dark spots were in fact geysers, and the fans that appeared were caused by the debris from the eruptions.

Artist's impression of how the Martian geysers may look. Pic: Arizona State University/Ron Miller

Christensen said: "If you were there, you'd be standing on a slab of carbon-dioxide ice. Looking down, you would see dark ground below the three foot thick ice layer.

"The ice slab you're standing on is levitated above the ground by the pressure of gas at the base of the ice."

He explains that as the sunlight hits the region in the spring, it warms the dark ground enough that the ice touching the ground is vaporised. The gas builds up under the ice until it is highly pressurised and finally breaks through the surface layer.

As the gas escapes, it carries the smaller, finer particles of the soil along with it, forming grooves under the ice. This "spider" effect indicates a spot where a geyser is established, and will form again the following year. ®

SOURCE The Register

Geysers near Gusev Crater
ESA Mars Express
Image Credit: ESA/Mars Express

This colour picture was taken by the HRSC camera on board ESA's Mars Express, from an altitude of 320 kilometres. It shows the centre of crater Gusev with the landing site of the NASA Spirit rover (marked). Gusev is a crater of 160 kilometres diameter. Earlier in the history of Mars, it appears that this area was covered by water. Because of the probable existence of sediments from this ‘lake’, Gusev is a highly interesting target in the search for traces of water and life on Mars. The area shown measures about 60 kilometres across at the bottom; North is at the top. 

SOURCE: ESA Mars Express

Fields of Sand Geysers in E07-01445
Image Source Malin E07-01445
Fields of Sand Geysers in E08-00337
This is from the center of the entire image and shows many perfectly defined geysers. They are sparce at the top of the inage, and increase to the bottom, then the image displays the "spider" effect commonly seen in this area. Further down the image the spiders increase and the geysers decrease, indicating that the spiders may be a second stage event after the geysers.

Image Source Malin E08-00337

Fields of Sand Geysers in E08-01604
Again the geysers increase in numbers to the bottom perhaps indicating a progression

Image Source Malin E08-01604

Fields of Sand Geysers in M07-01830
These are some very clear tall ones....These are the only ones in the big image of note and are located in the bottom corner. The above image has been inverted to better view them.

Image Source Malin M07-01830

Fields of Sand Geysers in M07-01940
Interesting spray pattern in this group, The bottom of the full image is covered in strange looking rows of spheres..

Image Source Malin M07-01940

Fields of Sand Geysers in M08-02966
Very large and wide ones in this photo on the right side...clearly visible "rays" in the fans

Image Source Malin M08-02966

Fields of Sand Geysers in M08-03500
In this image you see the smaller jets and clearly see the larger ejecta deposit areas...

Image Source Malin M08-03500

New Geysers in M11 01809
Color image showing large jets along the edge of the depressions...

Image Source Malin M11_01809

Diversionary Tactic
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1556, 16 August 2006
S18 02576
"This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows some dark slope streaks in the Phlegra Dorsa region of Mars. Of particular interest is the split streak near the center of the image, which diverted around a rounded hill as the material was sliding down the slope. Slope streaks occur in regions of Mars that are mantled by fine, bright dust. They do not occur on slopes that have no dust coating. They are therefore suspected to form by dry avalanching of the dust, despite their somewhat fluid appearance." - Malin Space

Very Alien looking scenery...
Image Source Malin S18 02576

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