Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Image Credit: NASA
Instead, the shapes you see are actually giant lava coils, ranging in size from 16- 98 feet (5 - 30 meters) across, seen here for the first time on the Martian surface, in a region called the Athabasca Valles .
Like those found on Earth, which tend to be much smaller in size, closer to the one to two foot range. The giant coils in the image were formed as opposing currents of molten material met and twisted against one another. That molten material would have then cooled and hardened, as molten materials are want to do, leaving behind the formations in question.
Because we understand how these features are formed on Earth, the hope now, is that future computer models might help to determine the compositions of the Lava flows which formed them on Mars. And, in turn, provide us a better understanding of the composition of the Martian crust and mantle.
Oddly enough, this isnt the first time Martian lava flows made the news last month. As it can also apparently draw elephant heads. Not really, it's pareidolia.
OR IS IT?!
No, seriously, it is.
VIA: Wired Science and Space.com