Solar system exploration probes reveal unusual phenomena on the surface of the planets these machines are sent to, and the planet Mars apparently has yielded more surprises from the imagery supplied by the latest probe described by NASA and reported by the UK Daily Mail Newspaper online version here.
Current enigma ‘du jour’ is the small spherical lump of rock imaged by the Curiosity Rover on Mars’ surface shown below.
The spherule is about 1 cm in diameter. It has a similar shape to the previously discovered Martian Blueberries that are made of the iron mineral Hematite.
These spherules have been described as ‘concretions’ which NASA described as ‘the process of compacting and hardening a mass of matter’ according to Discovery News.
The present day explanation of the blueberries is that these forms were created many millions of years ago during the formation of sedimentary rock when Mars was abundant in liquid water. This explanation is, err, quite novel since the process is not being observed in the here and now on earth.
Within the newly forming sedimentary rock, pores are inevitably created and minerals seep into those pores, gradually building up an erosion-resistant mass. Over time, as the soft sedimentary rock is eroded away, the concretion remains behind. And this little sphere is one such example — the ball has either emerged from the underlying sedimentary rock that has eroded away or, perhaps, it rolled from somewhere else over time.
This explanation is simply Lyellian gobbledygook.
An example of magnetic spherules from the earth has been described in a U.S. Geological Survey Professional paper ‘Magnetic Spherules, Colored Corundum,and Other Unusual Constituents of a Heavy Beach Sand, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts by Clifford A. Kaye and Mary E. Mrose published during 1965, here.
The beach sand under study contained two types of magnetite grains – many dull rounded grains and a smaller number of highly polished, near-perfect spherules, 22 in total and easily distinguished from the rest of the magnetite grains. These spherules had the appearance of minute steel ball bearings in stark contrast to the duller lustre of the accompanying magnetite grains. The origin of these spherules has been attributed to an extra terrestrial origin and thought to represent cosmic dust and ablation droplets stripped from meteorites passing through the earth’s atmosphere. The enigma is that the beach sand spherules are much larger than the, so-called, meteorite spherules collected from the atmosphere, polar ice and older sediments. Bulk density of the some of the spherules exceeded 3.0 despite having hollow centres, while other spherules found in Greenland had densities of 4.54. The chemical composition of the spherules was maghemite.
Surface texture study of the larger spherules under high magnification showed crystalline habits probably representing micro-crystals of maghemite, along with complex striations with one spherule suggesting a geographic grid with polar meridians and parallels of of latitude.
The most interesting comment in the paper is the sentence “Magnetite spherules produced by welding (welding splatter) also have the form of particles of extra terrestrial origin”. The authors note that compositionally welding splatter is mainly elemental Fe and not the magnetic oxides and determined by the composition of the welding rods and also discounted a volcanic source.
So why, then, are the Martian spherules interpreted as weathering products associated with sedimentation? There is no evidence of such spherules being formed in situ on earth in sedimentary deposits.
However the physicist Dr. C. J. Ransom has produced hematite spherules experimentally via electric discharges using modern welding equipment and iron rich powders and published a paper on the phenomenon in IEEE Transactions (Volume: 35, Issue 4) where plasma discharges that produced craters in various materials often created spherules in or around the craters, where both individual and joined spherules were created.
An interesting fact is that the Australian Aboriginals around the town of Halls Creek in the Kimberley region of Western Australia reckon the Rainbow Serpent sculpted the local topography. In addition aboriginals around Borroloola attribute the formation of creeks and drainages to a Rainbow Serpent. As human observations of natural phenomena have to be taken as primary observations, then it is likely that these ancient rainbow serpents could be explained as historical electric-plasma discharges between the earth and the ionosphere.
If so then the creation of micro to macro spherules as surficial accumulations on outcrops and regolith could be interpreted as electric discharge phenomena either associated with cratering or laterally extensive sheet electric current flows. And if the earth’s topography was sculpted by an electro-machining mechanism, as remembered by the aborigines as the rainbow serpent, then many of the enigmas associated with sedimentary deposits might become explicable.
The irony is that the Creationists are sort of right in the sense that many sediments are not the result of millions of years of accumulation of material weathered from rocks, but from the electro-machining of rocks during geologically short catastrophic events remembered by most of humanity but rejected by the Lyellians as irrational myths.