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"Could the Meridiani Spherules be Surficial?"
Kye Goodwin
post Jul 10 2007, 04:37 PM
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I have been reading the response to the reponse to impact-surge linked by Dr Burt in post 170. The MER team objects to the impact-spherule explanation because " The spherules are dispersed nearly uniformly across all strata." I agree that is a valid criticism. It is very much like Dr. Burt's criticism of the MER team's hypothesis, that spherule distributions are not consistent with any conceivable ground-water movement regime that should have controled the development of concretions. I agree strongly with this point of Dr. Burt's as well. Neither theory does a good job of explaining the distribution of the spherules. Also, neither theory does a good job of explaining why the spherules do not apparently disturb the bedding.

There may be a solution in a possibilty that I now raise with some trepidation. I think that there is a chance that the spherules are superficial, and not an integral part of the Meridiani strata at all. This probably sounds crazy to many readers, but before rejecting it outright remember that science is at kind of an impasse on this and could use a new idea. If the spherules are superficial this would explain a number of puzzling observations.

The layering at Homeplate and Meridiani is most simply explained by impact-surge. It is elegantly and inescapably explained by impact-surge. The impact-surge authors have also tried to explain the Meridiani spherules as part an impact event. If doubts are raised that the spherules are integral to the deposit, this would not in any way be inconsistent with the impact-surge origin of the layered structure. On the contrary, an objection to impact surge would be removed.

I intend to start another thread under Opportunity to discuss this question. The first posting should be mine and should be an organized outline of how it might be possible that the spherules have been mis-interpreted as part of the Meridiani layered deposit. I am working on it. If anyone wants to start in on me with the obvious objections, do it here for now. Maybe Dr. Burt would like to respond. No matter what the details of spherule formation in an impact or spherule deposition in the impact sediments, the very uniform distributions that we see are troublingly unlikely. Random distributions are possible from explosive dispersal but less likely than some kind of clustering because of the rapidly changing conditions in the surge cloud. The more-uniform-than-random distributions of spherules on rock characterised by MER-team analysis cannot be explained by impact surge.
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tglotch
post Jul 23 2007, 07:56 PM
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Kye,

The occurrences of hematite at Gusev were detected by the Moessbauer spectrometer and not seen by Mini-TES. This implies that the hematite there is not coarsely crystalline like it is at Meridiani.

As for Meridiani, we don't know the exact mineralogy of the dust, but we know the Fe-bearing phase is magnetite. See my above post for my take on the magnetite-to-hematite transition.

My view on the hematite formation at Meridiani can be summed up thusly: thermal IR data from TES and Mini-TES rule out a high-temperature formation mechanism. In addition, there is no reason to pose an exotic formation mechanism under current conditions when there is plenty of evidence for past aqueous (however short-lived) activity. Breakdown of Fe-sulfates in the outcrop is to me the most reasonable mechanism to form the hematite spherules.
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- Kye Goodwin   "Could the Meridiani Spherules be Surficial?"   Jul 10 2007, 04:37 PM
- - djellison   I've seen you mention your theory that the sph...   Jul 10 2007, 04:53 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   Doug Ellison, Thanks for asking. It will be a lon...   Jul 10 2007, 07:12 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 10 2007, 08:12 P...   Jul 10 2007, 08:11 PM
- - MarsIsImportant   Kye, How would this be a test for either hypothesi...   Jul 10 2007, 07:30 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   MarsIsImportant, If the spherules are superficial,...   Jul 10 2007, 11:21 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 11 2007, 12:21 A...   Jul 11 2007, 07:36 AM
|- - climber   QUOTE (djellison @ Jul 11 2007, 09:36 AM)...   Jul 11 2007, 06:12 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   Centsworth_II, OK. I will start a topic under Ma...   Jul 11 2007, 12:40 AM
- - Pavel   I'm not a geologist, but I majored in solid st...   Jul 11 2007, 01:00 AM
- - Kye Goodwin   I have started writing on this topic on the thread...   Jul 11 2007, 01:01 AM
- - Kye Goodwin   I have a feeling that I have already lost eveybody...   Jul 11 2007, 05:09 AM
- - MarsIsImportant   I agree with Doug. The spherules are basically ma...   Jul 11 2007, 02:12 PM
- - Bill Harris   QUOTE I do not need to prove that accretion is tak...   Jul 11 2007, 02:46 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   Bill Harris, I can't prove anything by postin...   Jul 11 2007, 05:54 PM
- - djellison   This page - http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery...   Jul 11 2007, 06:33 PM
- - helvick   Kye, I'm all for thinking outside of the box ...   Jul 11 2007, 07:06 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   helvick re your post 17, Thanks. On superficial...   Jul 11 2007, 10:57 PM
|- - MarsIsImportant   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 11 2007, 05:57 P...   Jul 12 2007, 12:54 AM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 11 2007, 11:57 P...   Jul 12 2007, 07:11 AM
- - dvandorn   OK -- here are two points that might possibly lead...   Jul 13 2007, 04:29 AM
- - MarsIsImportant   Well, the distribution of the spherules was a prob...   Jul 13 2007, 04:56 AM
- - Bill Harris   Agreed, Mars. His argue-ments remind me of http:...   Jul 13 2007, 06:56 AM
- - Kye Goodwin   MarsIsImportant, re your reply 22, I agree, both ...   Jul 13 2007, 03:09 PM
|- - Gray   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 13 2007, 03:09 P...   Jul 13 2007, 04:19 PM
- - denis   Kye, When what looks closely at the spatial distr...   Jul 13 2007, 04:50 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   Gray, Thanks for considering this. What I wrote ...   Jul 13 2007, 05:13 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   denis, re your 26, Thanks. On your first point: ...   Jul 13 2007, 07:01 PM
- - MarsIsImportant   I think Mars is throwing us another 'monkey wr...   Jul 13 2007, 09:17 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   I just thought of another remarkable observation t...   Jul 15 2007, 03:18 PM
- - djellison   How do you make hematite rich spheres sat on top o...   Jul 15 2007, 03:41 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   Doug, re your post 31, in the same order: I am...   Jul 17 2007, 02:31 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 17 2007, 03:31 P...   Jul 17 2007, 03:47 PM
- - paxdan   An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician were...   Jul 17 2007, 03:29 PM
|- - Stu   QUOTE (paxdan @ Jul 17 2007, 04:29 PM) An...   Jul 19 2007, 10:46 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   Doug, Thanks for removing that off-topic post. Re...   Jul 19 2007, 05:29 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 19 2007, 06:29 P...   Jul 19 2007, 05:47 PM
- - MarsIsImportant   To be fair, you are tackling the distribution prob...   Jul 19 2007, 05:55 PM
- - djellison   Interesting paper regarding erosion rates : http:...   Jul 19 2007, 10:35 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   Doug, Yes, "How?" is now the heart of th...   Jul 19 2007, 11:24 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 20 2007, 12:24 A...   Jul 20 2007, 06:59 AM
|- - tglotch   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 19 2007, 11:24 P...   Jul 21 2007, 07:15 PM
- - Aussie   Kye, Could you please provide a model for your the...   Jul 20 2007, 09:56 AM
- - Kye Goodwin   Doug, re your post 41, Yen is referring to the su...   Jul 20 2007, 03:28 PM
|- - djellison   You've had ten days to bring some sound scienc...   Jul 20 2007, 06:09 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   Paxdan, re your 33, That's funny, Thanks. ...   Jul 21 2007, 03:26 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (Kye Goodwin @ Jul 21 2007, 04:26 P...   Jul 21 2007, 04:13 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   tglotch, re your post 47, Thanks very much for yo...   Jul 22 2007, 01:33 AM
- - tglotch   Kye, The occurrences of hematite at Gusev were de...   Jul 23 2007, 07:56 PM
- - Kye Goodwin   tglotch, Thanks for that information about the he...   Jul 24 2007, 02:39 PM
- - djellison   ....in your opinion. It's time to bring this ...   Jul 24 2007, 04:21 PM


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