WATER ICE FOUND ON MARS? OR EVIDENCE OF PAST VOLCANISM?
This is a much more intriguing story than the bland headline of this blog might indicate. The story was spotted and shared by V.T., and like all such stories, something "caught my eye" that didn't quite make sense to my scientifically untrained hack-from-South Dakota brain. Here's the story (see if you can spot it):
Now you'll note that this article has an intriguing sub-header; "The discovery," we're told directly beneath the headline, "is raising many questions for researchers."
I'll just bet it is.
The discovery, the article notes, was made around 2007, but scientists were then unsure just exactly what it was that they had discovered:
These buried deposits, which are several kilometers thick, were first discovered around 2007.
However, scientists weren't sure exactly what they had stumbled upon back then.
"Given how deep it is, if the MFF was simply a giant pile of dust, we'd expect it to become compacted under its own weight," says physicist Andrea Cicchetti of the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy.
They have come to conclude that these several-kilometers'-thick "things" are, in fact, big ice cubes... in short, water... and lots of it:
"This would create something far denser than what we actually see with MARSIS," she added.
"And when we modeled how different ice-free materials would behave, nothing reproduced the properties of the MFF – we need ice."
"We've explored the Medusae Fossae Formation again using newer data from Mars Express's MARSIS radar, and found the deposits to be even thicker than we thought: up to 3.7 kilometers (2.3 miles) thick," says geologist Thomas Watters of the Smithsonian Institution.
Ok, well and good. Mars has water, which has long been suspected ever since the 19th century astronomers Giovanni Schiaparelli and Percival Lowell first observed their "canals" on the surface of the planet, leading to speculations of Martian life and even that the "canals" were just that: great irrigation ducts. Over time, as observations improved and as space probe pictures were received, the canals entered the history books as another disproven idea, and water was confined to Mars' polar ice caps, and to the bottom of a few craters.
Then came Van Flandern's exploded water bearing planet hypothesis, and the geological evidence on the surface of Mars itself, that the planet looked like it had been concussed with a massive amount of water. Indeed, the planet exists in two geologically contrasting halves, one half scoured away and stripped, as it were, of its surface, the other half with that surface intact. And then quite evident geology suggesting the presence of water and even of oceans, once, long ago, on the planet. And then along came Dr. John Brandenburg, an American plasma physicist (!), who has noted that there is evidence of massive fusion and fission nuclear explosions on the planet. Stir that in and mix well with Graham Hancock's observation that when you're looking at Mars, you're looking at a murder victim, and you get a very strange picture indeed.
But this discovery is about much more than just the presence of a lot of water ice on the planet, and not at its poles. It's about this one statement from the article:
In fact, there's so much water ice buried there that if it were to melt, it would cover Mars in a shallow ocean between 4.9 to 8.9 feet deep.
In other words, the entire planet of Mars would be under water, a veritable "lost continent" on a planetary scale.
But then, if that is the case, how in the name of sense did all that water gather itself together and stay together long enough to get frozen into gigantic subsurface icecubes? what mechanism might explain that?
Well, one advantage to not being a scientist is that I get to speculate wildly, becoming a source of entertainment for those who are scientists. My speculation is that one can only account for such massive amounts of frozen subsurface water on Mars by a sudden and cataclysmic event, one moreover, that would quickly and rapidly rip away whatever dense atmosphere the planet may once have had and hence exposing the surface of the planet to sudden cold, and in a sudden deluge of water, rip away a lot of its surface water, trapping some of that water beneath a plasticly fluid surface mud that resulted from the sudden deluge, and then as the temperatures suddenly cooled, freezing that water beneath the surface...
... a scenario that makes some sense if, as Dr. Van Flandren speculated, the missing and exploded planet that used to be in the asteroid belt was water bearing, and Mars was its close neighbor... Notably, it's a scenario that can be tested by examining if the region where these ice cubes are found show evidence of such surface dirt plasticity... or mud... at one time. In Wikipedia, the Medussae Fossae formation where these water ice slabs are found is described in a manner at least minimally consistent with this hypothesis:
The Medusae Fossae Formation is a large geological formation of probable volcanic origin on the planet Mars. It is named for the Medusa of Greek mythology. "Fossae" is Latin for "trenches". The formation is a collection of soft, easily eroded deposits that extends discontinuously for more than 5,000 km along the equator of Mars. Its roughly-shaped regions extend from just south of Olympus Mons to Apollinaris Patera, with a smaller additional region closer to Gale Crater.
Later it states this:
The origin of the formation is unknown, but many theories have been presented over the years. In 2020, a group of researchers headed by Peter Mouginis-Mark has hypothesized that the formation could have been formed from pumice rafts from the volcano Olympus Mons. In 2012, a group headed by Laura Kerber hypothesized that it could have been formed from ash from the volcanoes Apollinaris Mons, Arsia Mons, and possibly Pavonis Mons.
An analysis of data from the Mars Odyssey Neutron Spectrometer revealed that the western lobe of the Medusae Fossae Formation contains some water. This means that this formation contains bulk water ice. During periods of high obliquity (tilt) water ice was stable on the surface. By means of a re-analysis of data from Mars Express' MARSIS radar, Thomas Watters found evidence about the existence of large underground water deposits in Medusae Fossae up to 3.7 km thick and covered by hundreds of meters of dust.
But there's a strong counter-indication:
Combining several gravity models of Mars with the MOLA topographic dataset allowed calculation of the density of the deposit; the value is 1.765 ± 0.105 g/cm3, similar to the density of terrestrial ignimbrites. This rules out significant amounts of ice in the bulk composition. In combination with the deposit's high content of sulfur and chlorine, it implies an explosive volcanic origin. The total volume of the deposit is 1.4 × 106 km3; such a large deposit might have been emplaced in periodic eruptions over an interval of 500 million years.
This said, however, it is to be noted that the Wikipedia article contains suggestive pictures of the Martian surface in that region, pictures that suggest fluid flow.... which could be lava, or water.
In short, with the hypothesis of water ice on Mars at Medussae Fossae, we might be looking at yet another confirmation of the Atlantis myth, and of the exploded planet hypothesis, and yes, of the cosmic war, and the long association of Mars with war. Someone may have - per Dr. Brandenburg's hypothesis - been exploding gigantic nuclear bombs over or near the red planet, and someone may - per Dr. van Flandern's own suggestions - have deliberately destroyed that missing planet... Krypton.
How will we know? Beyond the spectroscopy thus far applied and the speculative extrapolations drawn from it, we'd have to drill a few core samples from various places of that "water ice" to determine those cores' composition, and if they are indicative of a volcanic origin, or if volcanic compounds are significantly missing. The trouble is, we're a long way from landing a probe that can drill to those depths much les return a core and then analyze its composition.
See you on the flip side...
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