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Martian erosion, water or dust related?

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posted on Aug, 25 2006 @ 06:44 PM
While in the field working in Gold Exploration in one of the most arid deserts in the world (so arid it is one of the few areas with no organics in the soil//dust layer which covers it) I noticed an interesting phenomenon which is very common there so the locals know it well.

I'm sure this is the case with the driest parts of the world's deserts, but certainly here where the dust is mostly a particulate calcite which prevents water from penetrating and so it quickly evaporates keeping the surface so dry that laying on it for several hours will desecate you.

The effect is that dust flows like water (and actually much faster) and erodes like materials (dust and loose sediment) as if it were water.

The dust material travels quite a distance (and eroded the walls of our sumps a bit) before becoming fully aeroslized.

I proposed the theory a lot of proposed water erosion on Mars is really a similar dust erosion (this behavior is caused by airation of the soil//dust so it becomes "explosive" when disturbed) to an amature astronomer big-time Mars fanatic who was very interested in the idea (he's not that amature he's got connections in Arizona State's planetary program) however I haven't had a chance to throw my idea at the contact I know who is a Geophysicist on the Mars Rover Program.

I will let you know her thoughts when I receive them, however I am proposing this for debate here.

I will look for further evidence to support my theory of dust-related erosion being primary on the Martian surface and that much of the water-related erosion is mislabeled and misunderstood.

posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 09:37 AM
I have not heard anything about calcite on Mars in any quantity. And water erosion leaves some trademark signs of its presence, I think that scientists would be able to determine the difference. One of the substances found on Mars was hematite, which is a very signifigant clue of water erosion.

posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 01:01 PM
Hematite has nothing to do with water but merely CAN be a deposit by such, it's an oxide, things oxidize without water...water merely is a catalyst.

There is no significant (though probably some) Calcite on Mars however there is significant quantities of Dust (comparitively) that is usually of a very fine-grain and is absolutely dry so the properties are the same. Merely here on Earth the Calcite is what is more prone to being such a dry dust as opposed to the silica which is fairly hard.

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