posted on Jan, 29 2014 @ 03:03 PM
Would that account for the fact that the apparent "crystals" are clearly not aligned, and that some of them are actually overlapping?
Absolutely. You need to have in mind that the rock surface is essentially a 2D representation of a 3D system. Crystal growth often isn't linear and
ordered, rather it is limited to interstitial spaces between other nucleating crystals. Intergrowth and twinning are very common.
I've whipped up a rather crude image in paint
that I hope demonstrates how the various orientations of
crystals can produce an 'interlocking' pattern at the surface level of the rock (in this case the red line), despite all being at different
orientations to one another.
Alternatively just take a look at the examples from our own planet to see the same interlocking texture.
reply to post by NoExpert
Thanks for your helpful comments, NoExpert ... it's incredibly useful for us to have a geologist like yourself among us. Your expertise will
certainly help examining the martian terrain and features in threads like these with professional insight (even if that means that we might need to
'ground' some of our interpretations & theories).
By the way: do you happen to have an opinion on this thread by fellow ATS member
Arken or other formations like those found in this OP (see mosaic on first
page)? Are any of these especially intriguing to you?
Thanks again & I'm very much looking forward to seeing you around in this forum!
Many thanks for the warm welcome, I don't believe I'll be as much help you believe however as I'm rather hesitant to make a confident assessment of
any geological feature based upon a few photographs. The Curiousity geology team have dozens of sedimentologists (I personally know one) and
geologists on their panels and from what he says, more often than not their discussions end in deadlock because they hardly ever agree on anything.
It's one of the main reasons why I think we need a manned mission ASAP, to get some boots on the ground and some proper field geology going.
Curiousity is a fantastic piece of equipment but there's only so much a rover can do. But that's another argument.
As for your referenced material, I will admit that some of the outcrops do bear a resemblance to certain aspects of a vertebrae, however in the
background of the main image there another outcrop of what appears to be the same rock type and that simply looks like a lump of rock. And because
what we know of the Martian past, the existence of complex life at any point in the planet's history is thought to be rather slim. Like I say, if I
was actually standing there myself I'd walk over and take a look, but if you're driving a £1 billion rover that trundles along at a few metres per
hour, I can fully understand not wanting to delay the primary scientific goals of the mission to drive the rover over to a formation that looks
slightly like a vertebrae (this is even assuming they spotted it).
Personally I think Mars almost certainly did have life and may continue to harbour it deep underground. I don't, however, believe that it was or is
any more advanced than single celled organisms. I'd definitely say keep looking, but I think the smoking gun is yet to be found. And when it does
come, it'll more than likely be microscopic. High hopes then for ExoMars in 2018.