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Apr 11, 2005
Pits, Scoops, and Gouges on Mars

Anomalous surface depressions on Mars are much more than a dent in conventional theory. They are markers left by electric discharge events that sculpted the face of the Red Planet.

The picture above shows a sample of depressions that occur frequently and in diverse contexts in the Martian landscape. Planetary scientists have grasped at interpretations case by case and have obscured with inconsistency and confusion the identicalness of form.

For those investigating the role of electricity in planetary evolution, these cleanly “scooped out” depressions are markers of surface erosion by electric discharge. Such markers include a wide variety of surface features—from great domes and massive trenches to networks of undulating grooves and dense fields of craters. The structural details of these features boldly contradict the popular explanations for such geology.

Sometimes the specialists call these depressions “collapse pits associated with faulting.” Sometimes they call the depressions “a chain of small pits over an emptied lava tunnel.” Sometimes they call them “impact crater chains.”

The three images in the upper frame are from the summit of Olympus Mons, dubbed the most massive “volcano” in the solar system. We’ve placed a picture of the superimposed flat-bottomed craters of the caldera here. (The white boxes outline the three pit complexes imaged above, which lie near the caldera.) From an electrical viewpoint, the great mound of Olympus Mons, the craters of the “caldera”, and the smaller crater complexes next to it were all formed by the one force that is known from laboratory experiment to produce such unique topology.

The lower image is from the shoulder of Valles Marineris described as the largest chasm in the solar system. A transverse view of the continental-scale trench, shown here (rotated 90 degrees), should eliminate any doubt as to the causal connection between the “crater chain” depicted above and the events that cut the greatest trench in the solar system.

The electric interpretation of these events describes a plasma discharge sweeping across a hemisphere of Mars and cutting into the surface in the same way an industrial arc cuts into its target. Sometimes the arc divided in two, and at times it sent out additional sputtering lightning filaments. In the end, the arc removed some 10,000 trillion tons of the Martian surface.

All that distinguishes the crater chain shown above from other cleanly cut secondary channels of Valles Marineris is the continuity and complexity of current flow at particular moments and places. Discharge filaments are rotating pairs of Birkeland Currents If the local electric field is mostly horizontal, the filament will tend to cut a smooth, sinuous groove as it rips across the surface. If the local electric field is more vertical and the surface is the cathode in the exchange, the arc may act in several ways: It may stick briefly to one point before jumping to another, forming a chain of separate craters. Or it may jump to the rim of the newly formed crater, creating an elongated scoop. Or a series of these overlapping craters will form a pitted, flat-floored channel with scalloped edges. Such variations are apparent in the above pictures, and the multiple effects from these manifestations of plasma discharge can all be seen in the cross view of Valles Marineris in the link above.

Reconstructing the electrical events that produced Valles Marineris will require us to examine other details of the trench as well. In particular, we must give attention to the Tharsis Rise, into which it cuts, along with Olympus Mons and other immense domes in this anomalous, uplifted area.

One overriding characteristic of the “pits, scoops and gouges” shown above should permit a generalization: Whatever caused these depressions removed the surface material, as if a giant spinning router bit reached down from the sky and bounced across the surface, biting out strings of circular and oblong pits.

Look at the pictures above, while considering the larger “context pictures” of Olympus Mons and Valles Marineris. An advantage of electric arcs in industrial applications (electric discharge machining, or EDM) is their ability to cut flat surfaces cleanly to predetermined depths. Layers of material are excavated and removed with great precision. And that, according to the electric theorists, is exactly what has occurred on Mars. If the electrical theorists are emphatic on this point, it is because no internal geologic force known to science can achieve the same effects.


David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
Amy Acheson
  CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Mel Acheson, Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom, Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman
  WEBMASTER: Michael Armstrong

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