Mars Gullies Likely Not Formed by Liquid Water

first_img Business News Martian gullies as seen in the top image from HiRISE on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter resemble gullies on Earth that are carved by liquid water. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHUAPLNew findings using data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show that gullies on modern Mars are likely not being formed by flowing liquid water. This new evidence will allow researchers to further narrow theories about how Martian gullies form, and reveal more details about Mars’ recent geologic processes.Scientists use the term “gully” for features on Mars that share three characteristics in their shape: an alcove at the top, a channel, and an apron of deposited material at the bottom. Gullies are distinct from another type of feature on Martian slopes, streaks called “recurring slope lineae,” or RSL, which are distinguished by seasonal darkening and fading, rather than characteristics of how the ground is shaped. Water in the form of hydrated salt has been identified at RSL sites. The new study focuses on gullies and their formation process by adding composition information to previously acquired imaging.Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, examined high-resolution compositional data from more than 100 gully sites throughout Mars. These data, collected by the orbiter’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), were then correlated with images from the same spacecraft’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera and Context Camera (CTX).The findings showed no mineralogical evidence for abundant liquid water or its by-products, thus pointing to mechanisms other than the flow of water — such as the freeze and thaw of carbon dioxide frost — as being the major drivers of recent gully evolution.The findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters.Gullies are a widespread and common feature on the Martian surface, mostly occurring between 30 and 50 degrees latitude in both the northern and southern hemispheres, generally on slopes that face toward the poles. On Earth, similar gullies are formed by flowing liquid water; however, under current conditions, liquid water is transient on the surface of Mars, and may occur only as small amounts of brine even at RSL streaks. The lack of sufficient water to carve gullies has resulted in a variety of theories for the gullies’ creation, including different mechanisms involving evaporation of water and carbon dioxide frost.“The HiRISE team and others had shown there was seasonal activity in gullies — primarily in the southern hemisphere — over the past couple of years, and carbon dioxide frost is the main mechanism they suspected of causing it. However, other researchers favored liquid water as the main mechanism,” said Jorge Núñez of APL, the lead author of the paper. “What HiRISE and other imagers were not able to determine on their own was the composition of the material in gullies, because they are optical cameras. To bring another important piece in to help solve the puzzle, we used CRISM, an imaging spectrometer, to look at what kinds of minerals were present in the gullies and see if they could shed light on the main mechanism responsible.”Núñez and his colleagues took advantage of a new CRISM data product called Map-projected Targeted Reduced Data Records. It allowed them to more easily perform their analyses and then correlate the findings with HiRISE imagery.“On Earth and on Mars, we know that the presence of phyllosilicates — clays — or other hydrated minerals indicates formation in liquid water,” Núñez said. “In our study, we found no evidence for clays or other hydrated minerals in most of the gullies we studied, and when we did see them, they were erosional debris from ancient rocks, exposed and transported downslope, rather than altered in more recent flowing water. These gullies are carving into the terrain and exposing clays that likely formed billions of years ago when liquid water was more stable on the Martian surface.”Other researchers have created computer models that show how sublimation of seasonal carbon dioxide frost can create gullies similar to those observed on Mars, and how their shape can mimic the types of gullies that liquid water would create. The new study adds support to those models.APL built and operates CRISM, one of six instruments with which the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project has been examining Mars since 2006. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the Caltech in Pasadena, California manages the project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver built the orbiter and supports its operations. 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Republicans Release Report Assessing Dodd-Frank

first_img Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He’s been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing. Related Articles Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Congressional Republicans, on the four-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act, fired out at the controversial legislation, saying that the act’s purported purpose to end the government’s “too big to fail” policy has itself failed.On Monday, the House Financial Services Committee released a 100-page report titled “Failing to End ‘Too Big to Fail:’ An Assessment of the Dodd-Frank Act Four Years Later,” which asserts that the act perpetuates a dangerous policy of bailing out lenders that fleece American taxpayers, under the presumption that not bailing them out would make matters far worse. GOP leaders say that Dodd-Frank was supposed to put an end to this perspective, but instead makes sure it continues.“In no way, shape or form does the Dodd-Frank Act end ‘too big to fail,’” said Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the committee. “Instead, Dodd-Frank actually enshrines ‘too big to fail’ into law.”The report calls the Financial Stability Oversight Council, created to manage the administration of Dodd-Frank, “unwieldy,” and states that the FSOC has failed to live up to its statutory mission to identify and mitigate systemic risk. The report also says that while the Office of Financial Research has made some progress in its mission to collect financial data to identify systemic risks, its progress has been hampered by poor data collection efforts that risk “imposing substantial costs in return for speculative benefits.”More to the point of its title, the report asserts that proponents of Dodd-Frank have never offered an adequate, concrete explanation of how the orderly liquidation authority ‒‒ which provides a process to quickly and efficiently liquidate a large, complex financial company that is close to failing ‒‒ would actually end bailouts. The FDIC’s strategy for implementing “single point of entry” provisions outlined in Title II of Dodd-Frank is, according to Republicans “a recipe for future AIG-style bailouts.”“Contrary to the claims of its proponents, Dodd-Frank leaves taxpayers exposed to the costs of resolving large, complex financial institutions,” the report states. Hensarling says that Dodd-Frank “misses some obvious problems and creates new ones,” especially where government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are concerned.  “Firms designated as ‘financial market utilities under Dodd-Frank,” the report states, are the next generation of GSEs.”Moreover, Republicans charge, regulatory requirements imposed under Dodd-Frank create compliance burdens that distort the free market by making it harder for small-to-medium-sized financial institutions to compete with larger firms, further entrenching “too big to fail.”While Republicans on the Financial Services Committee plan to introduce legislation “to repeal Dodd-Frank’s bailout fund and take other steps to end ‘too big to fail’ once and for all,” according to Hensarling, the act’s latter architect, Barney Frank, former Massachusetts Representative and FSC chairman, will testify at a congressional hearing on Wednesday to assess the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act four years later.Republicans are doubtlessly less than enthusiastic about what Frank may have to say and make no effort to hide their distaste for what they consider a cumbersome piece of legislation. “Rather than institute market discipline and a clear rules-based regime, four years later,” said Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry, “Dodd-Frank’s failed policies have only worsened the risks within the financial system and recklessly handed financial regulators a blank check for taxpayer-funded bailouts.” Tagged with: Barney Frank Dodd-Frank Reform Act Jeb Hensarling Subscribe Barney Frank Dodd-Frank Reform Act Jeb Hensarling 2014-07-21 Scott Morgan Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Share Save Republicans Release Report Assessing Dodd-Frank in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days agocenter_img Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago  Print This Post The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago July 21, 2014 1,907 Views The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago About Author: Scott Morgan Previous: RMBS Liquidations Increase for the First Time in Almost Two Years Next: Regulators Take Possession of Georgia Bank Home / Daily Dose / Republicans Release Report Assessing Dodd-Frank Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily last_img read more