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Mysterious new gully shows up on Mars

Posted on Friday, 21 March, 2014 | Comment icon 23 comments

Before and after comparison shots. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists have been attempting to determine what processes caused the gully to form so quickly.
A few weeks ago the story of a strange rock that had appeared in a photograph taken by NASA's Curiosity rover managed to make headlines as conventional theorizing gave rise to online speculation ranging from seismic activity to alien intervention.

Now another mystery has presented itself on the Martian surface, this time a mysterious gully that seems to have appeared between two photographs taken from orbit almost three years apart.

The winding geological feature is difficult to miss in image comparisons and nobody has been able to definitively explain where it came from. Scientists don't believe that it was carved by water and the prevailing theory at the moment is that it was formed when an accumulation of frost caused a small avalanche which dragged other material down the slope with it.

Source: Wired | Comments (23)

Tags: Mars, Gully

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #14 Posted by Ashyne on 22 March, 2014, 12:34
Because Mars is so cold that water on the surface freezes. There is no flowing water anywhere on the surface. Ice crystals, maybe, but never any running water. Underground, there might be liquid water, but if it exists, it would be very deep underground. I highly doubt there are oceans underground. Because the planet's core is not hot enough to warm the surface, and the very thin atmosphere means not enough heat is trapped to melt the ice, so there are no oceans of liquid water. Maybe large concentration of ice crystals.
Comment icon #15 Posted by GreyEater on 22 March, 2014, 13:21
Actually Ashyne, high temperatures on Mars can reach 70 degrees. Your science is weak, probably like your Kung-Fu.
Comment icon #16 Posted by taniwha on 22 March, 2014, 19:19
Based soley on the pace of erosion, I rank Mars the most boring planet in the solar system.
Comment icon #17 Posted by keithisco on 22 March, 2014, 23:14
For a "newbie" to launch into ad hominem attacks is very poor form. It is poor form for anyone to do so and your comment doesnothing to suggest that your "science" is strong. Back to the thread: water ice tends to sublimate at the surface of the planet due to the extremely low air pressure (rel. to earth)
Comment icon #18 Posted by DONTEATUS on 22 March, 2014, 23:51
Looks like a great place to poke around ?
Comment icon #19 Posted by qxcontinuum on 23 March, 2014, 5:29
Withouth the kung fu part i would say exactly to the point, thank you ! So why not water torrents coming out from underground again? A while ago nasa has released a picture of gullies showing water reversing in cascades over a crest...
Comment icon #20 Posted by 6.6.6 on 23 March, 2014, 17:42
I'm all for light humour but this is verging on racist
Comment icon #21 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 March, 2014, 0:52
Cut out the personal attacks.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 March, 2014, 1:07
Read what Keithisco has to say. If you don't get what he means by "sublimation" here is a brief explanation: Pure water can not exist on the surface of Mars due the low atmospheric pressure. The phase of a substance (whether is is solid, liquid or gas) depends not only on temperature but pressure as well. Sublimation means that a substance goes directly from the solid phase to the gaseous phase without passing through the liquid phase. On Earth an example of sublimation is carbon dioxide which sublime from the solid (dry ice) to the gaseous. On Mars water behaves in the sam... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Jyre Cayce on 26 March, 2014, 6:50
I'm sensing some hostility.

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