The Mysterious Moving Rocks of Mars

Posted by Ryan Anderson

How did the boulders in the picture above end up in clumps and arcs instead of randomly distributed across the surface? That’s the focus of the paper “Possible Mechanism of Boulder Clustering on Mars” by Travis Orloff, Mikhail Kreslavsky, and Eric Asphaug that is currently In Press in the journal Icarus.

The picture above is from their previous paper from 2011 about evidence for boulder movement at high-latitudes on Mars. They noticed that in many locations with “patterned ground” – a generic term for polygons and other shapes that form in permafrost areas – large boulders seem to have been moved into clumps and clusters that are decidedly non-random. How do they explain these boulder clumps without invoking little green men with a penchant for rock gardens? The secret is ice. Or rather, ices.

Read more: The Mysterious Moving Rocks of Mars – Martian Chronicles – AGU Blogosphere.

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