Martian Enigmas

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.

1412023890905 Image galleryImage image001 png


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.

1412027474174 wps 4 The discovery of Martian

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.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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4 Responses to Martian Enigmas

  1. PeterMG says:

    As someone who was once proficient enough with an arc welder to get a certification, I was fascinated to view the Thunderbolt’s video on Mars, as there before my eyes were shapes that I could make when “mucking about” with the arc welder. It is so obvious when you see it presented this way, especially if you are fortunate enough to have used an arc welder. How do we teach our kids this. 99.999% of them will never experience looking at arc welding but it is something that should be shown. Little balls like those illustrated would be all over the place, depending on the material being welded and the type of rod. All fascinating stuff.


  2. I arrived at the same conclusion from using welding equipment.

    Geologically, mantle hotspots could be explained as recent ‘fossilised’ remnants of older, short duration, electric discharges between the earth and its ionosphere. Large hotspots would imply longer duration discharge loci, such as the Hawaiian volcanic islands.

    It is my contention that whenever the earth is part of a cosmic electric/plasma discharge interaction, that interaction causes partial melting of the asthenosphere and hence volumetric expansion as implied by the expanding earthers; the Plate Tectonists instead assume a static earth, and then are forced to consider plate tectonics to explain the observations. (Underlying this interpretation is the assumption that the earth was previously a fizzled out black dwarf star derived from a prolonged Z-Pinch process which compressed matter and energy which is now, slowly but unpredictably re-equilibrating with its environment, and hence increasing in bulk volume.


  3. fabio says:

    I do not know Carey’s EET and I.V. theory enough, but your interpretation seems compatible with both, which would lead to conception of a very dynamic and unstable solar system where wander celestial bodies would be continually caught and further destroyed. The question is what makes a celestial body become a rocky planet, or a gaseous planet, or a sun.


  4. Fabio,

    I have no idea why one celestial body becomes a sun, planet etc. Maybe to allow us to pose unanswerable questions? 🙂


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