A Puzzling Crack

This image, acquired by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, highlights the vast plains of Meridiani Planum. The science team is currently focused on the sinuous crack, which consists of a series of deep dimples sprinkled with rocks that resemble, from a distance, those in the "Eagle Crater" outcrop. On sol 70, Opportunity drove approximately 100 meters (about 328 feet) northeast to a target area along the crack dubbed "Anatolia." In the coming sols, the rover will study the crack in greater detail.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

For me, this image resembles the bottm of a dryed sea. These scapes are very often seen here, when the sea "retires" itself after a low marea.

what about the possibility of an earthquake, that's since been filled in with dust? ... perhaps caused by a significant meteor impact sometime in the past?

Hey Opportunity! --

Just make sure you don't fall in that crack.
I really don't want to lose you!
:lol:

To me it looks like a fault line that has been filled in with dust.

Intriging

Ummm... Estuary.

Let's get closer and see if thsi is a sinkhole....

Ya having written a thesis on an estuarine systems I don't think that's an estuary do you know what they look like? Do you see any evidence that would point to an estuarine system, I can't see any bedrock with flasers in it I can't see any bedrock with identifiable course grained sediment, or bedrock with cross-beds or bedrock with vegitation mud cracks etc etc etc all I see is a crack like the one in my ass maybe it's a big ass lol

Ya having written a thesis on an estuarine systems I don't think that's an estuary do you know what they look like? Do you see any evidence that would point to an estuarine system, I can't see any bedrock with flasers in it I can't see any bedrock with identifiable course grained sediment, or bedrock with cross-beds or bedrock with vegitation mud cracks etc etc etc all I see is a crack like the one in my ass maybe it's a big ass lol

PLEASE SEE MY CURRENT POST IN THE PENALTY BOX
RICHARD

It looks like a "tunnel gully" -- erosion that happens under a layer of loess or loosely deposited material on a solid base; the water descends through the loose layer, runs downhill on the impermeable layer removing material and leaving a tube, which then becomes a series of sinkholes to the surface and may later open up as a very narrow gully with a large hole at the bottom. Then if water continues to flow it undercuts the material which slumps, gets carried away, slumps again - until you get a deep V shaped cut at the angle of repose.

I saw this happen in N. California (loosely consolidated sediment on mountain slopes) after a forest fire, when suddenly 20 acres of drainage was diverted into an old and long time stable U-shaped channel on the mountainside that had always had a seasonal creek, but very well consolidated soil with lots of trees and shrubs.

The fire didn't burn the inside of the drainage, the plants survived, but the next spring there was a 6" wide slot cut where the little rocky streamcourse had been -- it dropped 2 feet down to below the root zone then was a 2 foot diameter pipe.

Over the next few years the sides collapsed and the whole slope on either side slipped down.

New Zealand soil conservation service describes this as "tunnel gully" formation.

It hasn't been, to my knowledge, described in California but it was unmistakable -- just happened so fast that after a few years I would never have imagined the proces if I hadn't been there to photograph it.

The Mars photo looks very much like the surface over a tunnel gully, frozen in time.

Welcome Hank!
Underground water at some time has been suggested as the mechanisim for this feature. The trouble is that getting verification on Mars is difficult to say the least!
Forum Moderator
Richard