Note: If your browser is running JavaScript, rolling the mouse over framed areas on the wide images will reveal contrast-enhanced and/or false-colored closeups. If your JavaScript is off, you'll need to click the framed areas to see these closeups which will appear in a separate window.

M07-01731 shows another brine pond near Crater Keeler, which in light of its appearance we might as well call Keeler's Zebra. Michael Coleman originally pointed this image out to me. The novelty in this one is in the way its floaters follow parallel curves resembling the lines of a nineteenth century engraving or of a contour map. If the rippling geometry of the pond's floor is somehow influencing these placements, it's quite possible that in effect we ARE seeing such a map. The muddle here is that it's not entirely clear these contours match up with the grain of the floor. In the Wegener and Charlier ponds below, the floater contours definitely DO run parallel with the floor patterns.

Here's the Playfair Pond (not far from our earlier Lau Pond) as captured by Image M08-03419. The resolution we're seeing in this shot is about as fine as it gets with the narrow angle MOC -- 1.38 meters per pixel -- so it shouldn't be too surprising that the branch networks within the floaters show up so tantalizingly well here. (Try rolling your mouse over that large one at the bottom edge if you haven't already.) I first learned about this image and the Wegener directly below through the notes on Dr. Thomas Van Flandern's Meta Research press conference that was held in New York City in May 2001.

MGS recorded this image, M03-06104, on the very first day of Southern spring at a resolution of 2.77 meters per pixel. The pond we see here lies close to Crater Wegener. As what appears to be occurring in Keeler's Zebra above, we also see strong clustering that responds in some sense to the dune patterns at the floor. What's remarkable here is that, beneath the major clustering hierarchy, you can see in some areas a secondary alignment system rotated 90 degrees from the first. Can you say "self-directed behavior?" (I knew you could.)

M07-05887, another Michael Coleman discovery, reveals a moderately fragmented pond like Keeler's Zebra above but this time a bit to the west and south near Crater Charlier. In this one the floaters have nestled themselves within the troughs of their sandy floor like so many poker chips. This suggests the pond is either extremely shallow, such that the peaks of the dunes break the surface, or dry altogether. Perhaps Keeler's Zebra and the Wegener pond above represent earlier stages in this evaporation. This image was in fact captured several weeks later in the spring than they were.
James Keeler photo, Encyclopedia Britannica; John Playfair portrait, University of St Andrews, Scotland; Alfred Wegener photo, San Diego State University; C.V.L. Charlier photo, Mary Lea Shane Archives of the Lick Observatory, University of California-Santa Cruz; processed source images courtesy of NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems.


< Prev   Next >

Locate these features on my map

Back to Martian Curiosities