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Planet X: MARS Pole Shifts, Past

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News
Number 426 May 3, 1999, by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein

    The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft has discovered
    patterns of magnetized surface rock, broad stripes of
    magnetic material pointing in one direction alternating
    with magnetic material pointing in the opposite direction,
    somewhat like the patterns seen at mid-ocean rift zones
    on Earth. On our planet the alternating stripes testify to the
    changing nature of Earth's magnetic field and to the
    recurring upwelling of magma resulting from the
    movement of tectonic plates above a seething molten
    planetary core. The conclusion: Mars too might have
    experienced tectonic activity. (Science, 30 April 1999.)

News Service
Cornell University

    During the first 30 days of the Mars Pathfinder mission,
    the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) returned 9,669
    pictures of the surface. These pictures appear to confirm
    that a giant flood left stones, cobbles and rocks throughout
    Ares Vallis, the Pathfinder landing site. In addition to
    finding evidence of water, the scientists confirmed that
    the soils are rich in iron, and that suspended iron-rich
    dust particles permeate the Martian atmosphere.
    Bolstering their evidence for once-present water, the
    imaging team found evidence for a mineral known as
    maghemite -- a very magnetic iron oxide. Bell explained
    that maghemite forms in water-rich environments on
    Earth and could likely be formed the same way on Mars.
    Bell explained that reddish rocks like Barnacle Bill,
    Yogi and Whale rock show evidence of extensive oxidation
    on their surfaces. He said the oxidation - or the rusting
    of the iron - is possible only if water existed on the
    surface at some time and played an important role in the
    geology and geochemistry of the planet.

Diane Ainsworth
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
Release 98-90

    Fine-grained hematite, with tiny particles no larger than
    specks of dust, generally forms by the weathering of
    iron-bearing minerals during oxidation, or rusting, which
    can occur in an atmosphere at low temperatures. The
    material has been previously detected on Mars in more
    dispersed concentrations and is widely thought to be an
    important component of the materials that give Mars its
    red color. The presence of a singular deposit of hematite
    on Mars is intriguing, however, because it typically forms
    by crystal growth from hot, iron-rich fluids.