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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
This image shows Rocks explored by the Rover.
Click on image for full size
Image from: NASA/JPL

Rock weathering on Mars

The rocks explored by the Mars Pathfinder's Rover are classified into two groups according to how they weather. Differing weathering properties may indicate differing conditions of deposition because impact deposits are usually much less eroded than fluvial deposits. The two classes are:

  • weathered rock & fluvial conditions of deposition
  • unweathered & impact conditions of deposition
    • usually dark volcanic rock, see rock classes
    • contains vesicles (small holes)
    • usually angular in shape or broken

Yogi was a bright rock and was marked by ventifacts. Barnacle Bill was a dark rock and not well weathered. This suggests that Barnacle Bill was put in place as a result of an impact.

By figuring out the conditions under which the rocks were deposited, scientists hope to learn where the rocks came from, and what happened to the Martian water.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA