This is an artist's drawing of the process that creates alternating magnetic bands in the crust of a planet. The red in the picture is north and blue is south.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA

Scientists Have Found Ancient Mars to be Like Earth
News story originally written on May 10, 1999

Scientists have found new evidence supporting a theory that ancient Mars was similar to our current Earth. NASA's Mars Global Surveyor is finding magnetic field patterns on Mars' surface. These bands are frozen in the planet's crust, carrying a record of the changes which occurred over the past millions of years.

On Earth, the magnetic field lines switch their flow between the north and south poles. Each time they switch, the bands are frozen in rock that escaped from the Earth's crust. This same pattern was found on Mars, and will be used to study the early development of the red planet.

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