Interesting geology I’ll never see in person

I’ve seen rocky outcrops like this in the Southwest. Even to my non-geologist’s eyes*, that looks like a pile of crumbling sedimentary rocks.

It’s on Mars. It used to be pretty wet there, I guess.

I still don’t want to live there.

*I left my geologist’s eyes in my other jacket.


  1. says

    Well, IANAG, but it looks layered to me, suggesting sedimentary deposits. Also, it looks tilted, suggesting uplift. Which makes me wonder, as I don’t think Mars has plate tectonics, does it? I suppose I should give way to the real scientists, if and when they’re not too busy to comment. I just have time on my hands, and wanted to use that IANAG thing.
    I’m sort of like the kid who had a no-hitter going until the big kids got out of school.

  2. ardipithecus says

    ITANAG, but it seems to me that upwelling magma is a common source of uplift, even if it never becomes a volcano. Mars’ core is still molten.

  3. William Ubbes says

    IAAG, and sedimentary rocks can also be deposited by wind; these are called aeolian deposits. I’m not arguing that these deposits were not created by water, or that Mars was never wet, but Mars DOES have a lot of wind. Feralboy’s observation that the deposits appear tilted, perhaps due to uplift, is interesting, because as far as we know Earth is the only planetary body that displays plate tectonics. (Caveat: We’ve only understood plate tectonics on Earth in the last hundred years or so, so it’s not all that surprising that we haven’t observed it elsewhere in the solar system.) Anyway, aeolian deposits don’t necessarily have to be horizontal, which could account for the apparent tilting in the picture.

  4. Matt G says

    I’m not going to consider moving to Mars until they do something about that smog.

  5. Artor says

    Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it’s cold as hell. And there’s no one there to raise them, if you did.
    Impact craters can uplift sediments too.

  6. wzrd1 says

    @Matt G, think their smog is bad, wait till you see my vacation home on Titan! It feels like it’s LA in the ’60’s level smog.

  7. says

    Someday, after we’ve thoroughly destroyed this planet, all the billionaires will move to space. Leaving the rest of us to suffer in a post apocalyptic hellscape. Can’t wait until they find out they forgot to bring someone along who knows how to fix a toilet. So there they are, just floating in space surrounded by shit and piss because they abandoned everyone with practical skills. A fitting punishment.

  8. unclefrogy says

    @9 good you specified LA smog in the 60’s because gas prices, electric cars and regulations have really made a big difference in the air quality.
    @10 &11
    not to worry they will surly take along enough slaves oops, I mean support staff to continue their life style in comfort.
    You do not think they are going to do any nasty tedious kind of work do you.?

  9. Scott Simmons says

    Great. Now I can’t stop thinking about PZ’s extensive eye collection.
    Zombie spider armies and collections of human eyes. We’ve flown past ‘Bond villain’ territory and on into B horror movie plots. Whee!

  10. sophiab says

    You can have earthquakes that cause uplift without tectonics, I think (physicist, not geologist). Mars has volcanoes, those definitely can cause tremors