We have what seems to be moving sand as in,
it forms a Dune,,NOT as the three categorized
formula for earthly dunes.
The Dunes we are observing can be better described as WAVES,,
Using Physics as we understand Physics on
Earth,,is Not Likely,,to give results,,ie:
gravity,atmospheric pressure,atmospheric contents,the list can continue on to a single strand of Made on Earth DNA.

Accepting the Dunes as Waves,,asks the question,,Moving or Frozen?.

Feel free to add thoughts,
Joe in Texas


The laws of physics do not change with location, although the variables are modified to fit the environment. Within the bowls of craters sand has accumulated and of necessity there is a sorting based on grain size and weight. So we have a scenario where there is abundant local sand available with turbulence and variable wind conditions at the bottom of the crater bowl. So we end up with dunes with variable slip faces which are by definition star dunes. Just googling images of dines on earth should let you come up with dunes similar to those seen in craters although you must make allowance for the lesser gravity which affects the angle of repose.

Dune or ripple wavelength is a standard sand dune measurement so I really don’t understand your comment re Martian dunes being classified as waves?

Since we are on a slope facing the prevailing wind, the wind force is effectively as high as it can get. It would seem insufficient to mobilise basaltic sand so to my mind the dunes are frozen, as are the plains dunes.

I didn't note the name of this thread before replying. Mars biology is over thataway. :roll:

Serpens,,,,,,I have been wrong in the past.
In fact it might have been You who set me straight on Troy,,NOT,,being a vent.
Anyway,,,,that is all history,,just used as
an example of me being totally wrong.

So then,,let us wait a time,,,and see what is to be seen,,and perhaps,comments from others.

I fully respect your postings,,and the years
of study given,in order to make such posts.

“Since we are on a slope facing the prevailing wind, the wind force is effectively as high as it can get.”
That’s a nice chunk of meteorological information for a Geologist. If you don’t mind I would like for you to identify your source. If the plains dune field is frozen, how do you know the wind still blows in that direction? As far as peak winds go I have failed in my relentless efforts to find any. If you are sure it can no longer move sand you undoubtedly have. Give it to us brother.

Serpens, and others,
It seems some agree that the core of the dune/ripples appearing as a 'field of waves' is similarly understood by a large percentage as either relatively stable in positioning and orientation, or, there appears another group challenging the claim, with not much detailing of contradiction information given to show local and 'field pattern' temporary variations.
Stable dunes are commonly not particulate dense, (open pore space) and the finer dust is either removed from between the larger elaborately shaped 'sand' particulates, or, the assemblies of larger complex shaped dune bulk mass are allowing the 'dust ripple' finer grained masses to not be bound stably to the larger dune patterns.
As two groups of materials exist at most imaged dune areas, how much of the finer 'dust' is assumed to be integrated into the large particle dune patterns?
How much smaller sized dust would be in the dunes throughout, in small unaltered particle size remaindering and bound by the dune?
I thought to ask this as I viewed porous dunes up close when enlarging, and found pore space elaborate but deep, with the shapes mostly large particle, therefore a product of either sorting or a process of extraction to the visual depth limits.
Are the dunes simply less electrostatic and chemically responsive, rather than the dust being a wind driven fraction formed by the blown saltation motions?
I was asking about active versus inactive as an explanation of an immobile set of dunes bearing little dust component filling the pore spaces.

I would like to add a bit to Serpens comments.

I believe the sand particles have been sorted based on their size,weight,shape and the velocity and direction of variable winds.
I prefer to say the shape and distibution of these piles and the particles in them is static only as observed today and are subject to future change .

Ben wrote:
“and the velocity and direction of variable winds.”

Er, more better.


This thread, bsed on the title and opening subject is inappropriate for the Geology section. Should be taken to the against the mainstream section-- "This Forum is for sharing and discussing theories about current life on Mars."


Very Well,,Bill Harris,,,I respect your Judgment.
Others on this forum have seen it fit to tell of their backgrounds,

Lastly,,i will tell of mine,,
Three weeks ago my(new) Veterans Administer said,,"I see You were On The Ground in Viet Nam.
Duh,on the ground with a gun firing in my hands,13 months.
I do not hold a Degree Of any sort,,,BUT,,
I can Tell You Exactly how to drill an oil well.
This is something that I have done hundreds of times,error rate,, perhaps one in ten,,,
I also "Did This On the ground ie:,,My (Joseph Smith),two hands, head and mouth.
For Seven Years.
By All means,, Move this to the 'Against the Mainstream section.
I am Qualifying myself as being Un-Qualified
I am sure Fred will understand.
Joe in Texas

No response to my question, only a hint of explanation in Ben's reference to 'variable winds' as carrying finer material upward through particulates of a rather larger and more complex set of shapes, into the open air, and then as by magic removed and dropped in mass to a surficial or separate set of ripples.
The smaller particles should be carried as a heavy percentage of the dune mass bulk if they are not sorted, and saltating and progressing in placement. Other mechanisms of activity must be present. Dust incorporation to the larger particle shapes? Liquid or electrostatic charges driven movement?
I have a degree in persistence, and will remain to ask the 'pro's' questions and expect informed supported answers.
For Joe, I am only qualified to 'clean pipe or sort and support', so, I'll be taking the 'active' dunes to be supportive of a open question basis for studying Mars potential for prior and possible current life type active processes. Crystallinity and life are very well defined in Mars material as we all know thus far that Mars materials approximately resemble Earth materials. Until we can show a differing set of processes from Earth, it is wrong to be complaintful in the detailed investigation of the closeup views of Mars ordered materials as possibly similar to Earth equivalent materials.

A link in casual information support of 'wind blown dust' as produced by a process other than liquids and 'life'. Alaskan dust plumes from glacial ice production here. Winter dust storms carried to the 'Earth Lowlands' equivalent areas.
While the active aspects of dunes, ripples, and soil are probably geological and phase/physical on Mars, on Earth we would imagine and presume life in bulk or combination.
Placement of the topic in the Geology section was appropriate, despite the corrupt and denigrating conspiracy to confine the subject to absurd intimidation.
The MER images have shown probable growths, alterations, activity, and recorded shapes suggesting life type patterns on Mars.
Geology is clearly apparently predominant, but both are indicated as valid for discovery.
Biology action as geology in appearance was not the topic. The loose reference was to the ordering actions as equivalent to the crystallinity chemical basis for life, which is both organic and mineral, as in biogeochemistry on Earth. The 'soil' dune particles in Mars plains dunes are often very complex in shapes, and repeat in numbers. This is often not beach sand abraded quartz in appearance.
Please try to respect the authors of loosely stated references to the higher of ordering of visual sized assemblies of particulates and solids on Mars. We have no equivalents on Earth other than life-like complexity in ordering. Are there basaltic similar particles on Earth in dunes we can view closeup?

Marscloseup,,,,yesterday I was working at attempting to remove the aluminum from a petroleum based roof paint..(leaching it out with gasoline)..I need aluminum in this fine form for refractory work.Anyway I had a shallow bowl of the original gooey-flat-surface,paint,sitting in front of a blower type fan.This forced air (blower exhaust)came from the Wife's,,,old Jen-Air stove.(New stove coming soon)

I was surprised to notice,yesterday evening,
when I turned Off the lite and fan in my shop,,,the totally flat gooey aluminum+tar,
paint,,,was covered with miniature Dunes.

Santa Maria is almost a True crater,ie:It
sits above surrounding terrain,with true edges surrounding the crater,,,

Could the very odd shaped sand dunes, on the bottom of this crater,have come into existence the same way thick paint on the bottom of a shallow bowl,,with a strong,wind blowing across the to of it form,miniature dune peaks? I think ?possible?

Good to hear from you,,,its been a while.
Joe in Texas
"Don't Force it,Get a Bigger Hammer",old oil
field saying.

I haven't been keeping up with the Santa Maria section of the MER rover operation, as I have too many hours on other items, so, I was commenting 'blind' about the way you were admiring the beauty of the 'fluid' pattern inherent to this crater area.
It really is a beautiful mass of light and dark mixed tones with a close approximation of roughened water, more closely aligned to a liquid in motion from internal movement with variable wind, or? Obviously it has a natural cause and in this crater appears well mixed solids, rather than the separated two material basis I was describing at other Mars locations. Perhaps here the finer materials do fill the pore spaces, or, perhaps the minerals allow more fluid motion of the peaks. The air waves interacting with the solids are giving a beautiful show.
We know need a hidden Micro Imager to deploy well into the mission to give us a better closeup view of the details. The rover has degraded in value after seven years of near daily work.
The former MI closeups of dunes show a variety of dune mixes, but few studies were performed of the dune basis objects.
Someday I'll try the paint study for a reference.
I tried to explain the spheroidalism of cement dust powder left open in a cold foggy night-time to readers here a few years past, as the spheroids were of similar size to the Mars versions, but it seemed to pass without much acknowledgment. Dessicated baked ready to crystallize minerals and chemistry with humidity at saturation can cause growths in normally dry materials. Violent swings of temperature and pressure can cause similar effects. In our former inland sea area, the layered beds have zones of spheroids in red 'dusty' sandstone, and the current construction red dirt begins to 'concrete' in weeks to years timing, with wetter layers possibly bearing spheroids eventually.
The approach to Santa Maria certainly had a share of spheroidal growths throughout the layers.
I haven't seen the calcite crystals around this area that were seen near Opportunities second to fourth years travels.
A second hidden MI would sure be a show stopper now at seven years.

If anyone is interested in a 'beta' type version of a wind or slope movement assessment of particles(generally large) in wind tunnel conditions, the program FoilSim is available free at, or other locations, and although popping up in my FireFox browser page, and being without a self installing desktop shortcut, it works to show that on Earth and on Mars there are fast rolling conditions in a cold down-sloping wind over crater rims or scarps which can produce vertical lift of 100% to 400%, even 800% of the particle mass, if the rolling is congruent with the wind blown direction, anywhere from 100-1200 cycles per second of rotation during wind activity. That might be a 'sand river' explanation for the slope dark streaking as a self confining path on Mars slopes. the actual 'lift' increases to the top of the particles, giving a mass of particles a chance to add mutual lift to other particles in a thin 'lens' type layer, and the propensity for forward lift travel would aid in confining any 'scatter' diffusion of the lens of the 'sand river' streaks.
I recommend everyone try the FoilSim, using the 'ball' shape in motion for 'lift' studies. It was written by a NASA employee, or former employee.
Oddly it is the larger objects which generate greater lift by percentages, rather than dust or smaller particles in the simulator program. 2-4 inches, to 2-3 feet, seems more effective as 'starter' rolling items at high rotation speeds.
Some horizontal rolling or vortex air waves may give similar lift below the waves?

Here is an example of settings for a typical Mars day with a 101 millimeter radius rounded particle driven by either wind or slope travel to a speed of 340, 540, and 900 rotations per minute seen as a animated GIF image sequence. It cycles indefinitely so you can shift your eyes to the information boxes remembering the longest image period(about 3.5 seconds) is the slowest rotation speed of approximately 340.
There is no accounting of density or specific gravity , no allowances for slope driven changes by gravity, or other messiness, just a simple estimation of the lift around and above the object versus the drag and pressure below the object.
The program is limited to a small 15mm radius item upward to many feet or meters, and the lift ratios change dramatically with size and rotation speed settings. Lift over drag figures of 10/1 can be seen for some ranges of size below a 1 meter radius.
To use the program it is necessary to check variables available in each info box and try all combinations. A reset button is on the upper right corner for lost wanderers.
The Mars settings of atmospheric pressure are an option, as are humidity, Earth STP, and other settings.
FoilSim display at work, three images. 65kB

A faster sequence.
A 2 second total for the 3 images here. Also 65kB

A still image of the slowest image in the sequence, 340rpm. All three were uploaded to the image host index and are available to download or view. Much higher lift figures are available if you try the program.

The program requires you hand set the destination file, C&P the shortcut, and use an HTML viewer browser to view the active window. Mine appears on FireFox upon double clicking the 'HTML' file near the bottom of the set of program files. A recent JAVA update is required as well prior to installing, as this all JAVA.

Imagine a swarm of particles at high rotation speed interacting with mostly open space, and only a few have to be at the ground surface at any fixed point in time. The loss of drag and shared lift may create waves only found in the moving lens of particles.
Variable wave shapes may not be caused by this simple model. Most slope streaks are repetitious in wave patterns.
Dust devils can achieve 60-90+ MPH speeds on Earth, with most far slower. What are the limits of circling vortex patterns on Mars?
I was nearly blown across the ground by a 1/2 mile+ sized large one once, and I was slipping across the lake bed while leaning forward into it with my face nearly 1-2 feet above the ground. I knew it was powerful, and wanted to test the free standing power of the winds. I probably moved six inches across the ground with flat fixed footing, using my best leg support as a stiff nearly horizontal body. The wind held me 1-2 feet at head position, no arms on the ground. My hands were covering my face so I could watch the scene through tiny slits between my fingers. As exciting as the 'tornado' movies show, and just as impressive for my memories. The area was the Mojave desert, not far from the town of Mojave, more towards the Calico area north of the town. The dust devil came from the North, spinning counterclockwise. Looked like a tornado. Safer to use the FoilSim program.

Joe in Texas

For anyone who might have gotten one of those
tetra-byte hard drives,,,I only wish i could get it on my TomTom,,,sigh,,
Joe in texas