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KRONOS Vol XI, No. 10
THE SCARS OF MARS - II
DONALD W. PATTEN
Editor's Note: Part I of the present article appeared in KRONOS X:3. - LMG
[*!* Image] Figure 6. THE HEMISPHERE OF CRATERS OF MARS. Featuring the Subpoint (Center) and the Midpoint Between Hellas and Isidis.
VI. THE LOCATION OF THE BULGE REGION ON MARS
While Figure 6 illustrates the previously discussed (KRONOS X:3, pp. 36-38) Hemisphere of Craters of Mars, Figure 7 illustrates the Opposite Hemisphere of Mars. Three kinds of phenomena are brought to attention, which are:
Most planets are not perfect spheres. Earth, for instance, is an oblate spheroid . . . fatter around the equator and flattened at the poles, and this is due to a compromise between centrifugal force and gravity. The Moon has a lump or bulge on one side. Mars has both, for Mars also rotates like the Earth, and at a similar rate ( 1 day of rotation is 24 hours 37 minutes). Mars is an oblate spheroid with a bulge region. The bulge region is known as the Tharsis Bulge. Figure 7 illustrates this.
The Tharsis Bulge is a large shield or uplift area in the Opposite Hemisphere. It is approximately 6½ miles high in the center relative to the general crust of Mars and it is about 3000 miles in diameter on that small planet; it crosses 90 deg of latitude. The central core area of the Tharsis Bulge is very close to the equator and around 105 deg W. Longitude.
The Hellas Crater is centered around 295 deg W. Longitude and 45 deg S. Latitude. Tharsis, a bulge zone, is almost 180 deg opposite to Hellas Planitia, the lava region where Hellas hit Mars. To be precise, it is 190 deg to the west (or 170 deg to the east). We suggest that the massive Hellas strike on one side of Mars caused the bulge on the opposite side. The Hellas Impact Asteroid, the core of Astra, may have been between 850 and 900 miles in diameter, and it probably hit Mars at a speed of 6000 m.p.h. which is 100 miles per minute.
[*!* Image] Figure 7. THE OPPOSITE HEMISPHERE OF MARS. Featuring the Anti-Subpoint and the Anti-Midpoint and the Tharsus Bulge.
Based on the fact that the center of the Hemisphere of Craters is at 45 deg S. Latitude, it is concluded that Astra approached Mars from somewhat to the south of the ecliptic plane, 500 to 1000 miles south and 3000 miles distant at the moment of fragmentation. Also, from other data yet to be presented, it would seem that Astra approached Mars on the sunward side of Mars; probably Astra was moving out toward aphelion and Mars. Mars probably had just passed aphelion about 30 days previously, and was beginning its motion toward perihelion. It was summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
The angle formed between Hellas Planitia, the smooth, magma covered region covering the Hellas Crater, and the Tharsis Bulge suggests the trajectory of Hellas as it approached Mars. Since Hellas is about 20 deg east of the center of the Hemisphere of Craters, it is logical to conclude that Hellas hit Mars about 20 deg, or 700 miles off of center. And center is described as the subpoint under the fragmentation. Astra and the fragment Hellas careened toward Mars slightly from the south of the ecliptic (orbital) plane of Mars; hence the line between Hellas and Tharsis proceeds in a northerly trajectory from Hellas to Tharsis; such was the direction of the pressure waves inside Mars.
Thirty minutes prior to the impact of the Impact Asteroids (and at the moment of fragmentation), Mars must have been writhing in a sudden tidal surge. This tidal surge continued without significant abatement during the 30 minutes that the Impact Asteroids (and to a lesser extent the Current Asteroids) were approaching Mars. The three largest impact asteroids, Hellas, Isidis and Argyre, broke open the crust of Mars so wide that massive "bleeding" . . . extrusions of magma . . . resulted.
And within a period of about 25 minutes, and in addition to the massive, surging tides of internal magma, Mars received scattershot blasts by about 2800 impact asteroids which were over 15 miles in diameter plus 10,000 more of a smaller diameter. But above all, the impact of Hellas, approximately 38% of the original mass of Astra, must have been devastating to the innards of Mars. So immense were the pressure waves that, we believe, the Tharsis bulge resulted as one mechanism to relieve this sudden thrust. Its uplift required but minutes.
The pressure waves from the Hellas impact are estimated to have travelled within Mars at a rate of 150 miles per minute. The diameter of Mars was about 4200 miles (and growing by the accretion of Astra materials). In about 28 or 29 minutes, the pressure waves from Hellas were hitting the opposite side of Mars, on the inside of the crust. We propose that these pressure waves caused the uplift in the Opposite Hemisphere, in the equatorial region about 170 deg from the Hellas impact. Figure 8 illustrates.
[*!* Image] Figure 8. Pressure waves from Asteroid Impact within Mars. Featuring waves by Hellas and Isidis. Estimated wave velocity 150 miles per minute.
Thus we propose that the time lapse between the fragmentation of Astra and the uplifting of the Tharsis Bulge was no less than 55 minutes and it was no more than 75 minutes. From fragmentation, it took the Hellas Impact Asteroid about 30 minutes to arrive at the crust of Mars, and it required another 28 minutes for the shock waves to arrive on the opposite side. Perhaps it required another 10 to 15 minutes for the uplifting process, hence, 75 minutes from fragmentation to Tharsis.
There is another bulge zone on Mars, the Elysian Bulge which is located in the region 230 deg W. Longitude and 40 deg N. Latitude. This region seems to be at the opposite end of the trajectory formed by the Isidis Impact Asteroid. Isidis is on the rim of the Hemisphere of Craters. The Elysian Bulge is just opposite that impact zone.
A prominent opinion of the relationships between the Tharsis and Elysian Bulges, and the Valles Marineris (about to be discussed), and the general geological history of Mars is found in the following expression.
In contrast with what "many scientists believed" the conclusion of this essay is that the later period of catastrophic flooding on Mars was more like 5,000 than 5,000,000,000 years ago. The timing of the Astra fragmentation, and the Hellas Impact Asteroid event was between 5,000 and 15,000 years ago. Whatever may be the opinion of many scientists, such is the opinion of one geographer. This recentness is admittedly an opinion. Contradicting or substantiating facts, such as the dust drift accumulations in the craters of Mars and other data, will undoubtedly clarify the matter in due time.
Figure 2 (KRONOS X:3, p. 30) illustrates the general scene of Mars prior to the fragmenting of Astra, as does Figure 1 (KRONOS X:3, p. 27) in an orbital perspective. However, it is suspected that Mars had a small, icy, or "frosty" satellite (not shown).
After the fragmentation of Astra, Mars acquired two small asteroid like satellites, Deimos and Phobos. And perhaps Mars acquired, temporarily, a ring of lesser asteroidal debris, judging by the pitlets on Deimos and Phobos.
At the time of Astra's fragmentation, it is suspected that both the surface of Mars and "Frosty" were enriched with iridium since iridium was in abundance as a trace element in the composition of Astra. A further catastrophe ensued later, not discussed in this paper, wherein Frosty also fragmented, depositing ice and water upon the surface of Mars, among other planets.(9)
Figure 9 illustrates our understanding of the Mars scenery subsequent to the fragmentation of Astra.
[*!* Image] Figure 9. Mars with its two trabants and its hypothetical icy satellite after Astra's fragmentation. LABELS: Frosty (Iridium enriched by Astra);
VII. THE LOCATION OF THE RIFTING REGION ON MARS
Chaotic terrain exists just to the east of the Tharsis Bulge. It includes a maze of short, interconnected canyons, which has the name, Noctis Labyrinthus. This region has what appears to be a series of uplifted blocks or sections, and this also bespeaks of the impact of the Hellas Impact Asteroid on the opposite, or anti-side.
In this thesis, Mars acquired about 70% of the mass of Astra as it gathered that much of the volume of the asteroidal debris. Hellas alone was as much as 38% of the mass. Mars' new mass is between 1% and 1½ % greater than its former mass. For that kind of sudden growth, the thin crust of Mars needed to find an accommodation for expansion. The crust, parallel to the equator, split open and expanded even as a tear in a pantleg will occur due to a new, sudden, internal stress, such as the suddenly added weight of the wearer. Mars split open at the equator.
Our calculations suggest that, over the next decade or two, the diameter of Mars increased from about 4199 to 4222 miles, and the Valles Marineris is one example of Mars relieving itself of the newly developed internal stress. The Valles Marineris was a slow and gradual type of relief due to new isotatic pressures on the inside of the crust. The Tharsis Bulge was an example of Mars relieving itself in a sudden thrust or uplift. Thus, both gradual or slow, and sudden or quick responses of Mars to this catastrophe are seen on the surface of the Opposite Hemisphere of Mars.
VIII. THE LOCATION OF THE MAJOR VOLCANIC SITES ON MARS
Thrusting, rifting, and volcanism are each methods for relief of internal stress, or isostatic pressures building up on the inside of the crust. Figure 7 portrays the general location of Olympus Mons, the largest of the Martian volcanoes. Olympus Mons, like Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons, Arsis Mons, Tharsis Tholus, Uranus Patera, and Uranus Tholus, is a volcano on the edge of the Tharsis Bulge. Olympus is on the northwest periphery. The two Uranuses are on the northeast periphery of Tharsis. Ascraeus is in the north central section of Tharsis, like Pavonis. Arsis Mons is on the westerly edge. Labyrinth Noctis and Valles Marineris are on the easterly periphery. All of these are expressions of catastrophism, and especially of the Hellas Impact Asteroid.
Figure 10 illustrates the size of Olympus Mons, almost three times as high as Mauna Loa is from its Pacific Ocean base.(12) And the volcanic base of Olympus Mons is about 180 miles in diameter, about the distance from North Seattle to South Portland. Compared to the Olympic Mons of Mars, Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood are six volcanic pimples.
There is no question in our mind that Olympus Mons suddenly erupted in lock step with the uplifting of Tharsis; its eruption likely began within 90 minutes after the fragmentation of Astra, within 60 minutes of the impacting of Hellas, and within 30 minutes of the internal pressure and shock waves hitting the Tharsis Region.
[*!* Image] Figure 10. Comparison of sizes of Olympus Mons and Mauna Loa.
Thus we find in the Opposite Hemisphere three kinds of relief to the Hellas asteroid impact. These are bulging and volcanism, both rapid responses to the need for relief; and there is rifting, a slower response to the need for internal pressure relief. In addition to the Tharsis Bulge opposite the Hellas impact, note is also taken of the Elysian Bulge opposite the Isidis impact area.
We suspect that a line drawn between each of the following features will point toward the location of fragmentation, some 3000 miles in space near the Southern Hemisphere of Mars. The axial tilt of Mars is not known but it was summer for the Southern Hemisphere.
If this analysis is valid, then further analysis should show that there will be a difference in the steepness of the crater walls of various craters; and the steeper side should be on the opposite side from the subpoint while the shallower side should be found to be on the nearer side facing the subpoint.
IX. THE PRESENCE OF TWO TINY SATELLITES
Mars has two tiny satellites named Deimos and Phobos. Both are pock-marked or pitted as if they had encountered a considerable quantity of smaller asteroidal debris. Deimos, the outer one, is the smaller of the two. Its dimensions in miles are about 6 x 7½ x 10. Phobos, the inner one, is about 12 x 14 x 17. Their shapes are irregular.
Not only has Mars captured two asteroid-like satellites. Jupiter has directly captured another eight.(13) And, in addition, Jupiter's immense gravity has so influenced asteroids as to have gathered two clusters of them into parallel orbits. These are named the "Trojan" asteroids.
The Trojans are about a dozen asteroids which have assumed two strange orbital positions in our solar system. One group is at 60 deg East and the other is at 60 deg West of Jupiter, in Jupiter's orbit. For each group, the positions of the Trojans in their orbits always make an equilateral triangle, with the Sun and Jupiter at the other two corners of the triangle.
How could tiny Mars capture two tiny asteroids when Jupiter, with its massive gravity, has been able to capture only six or eight? The mass of Jupiter is about 3000 times greater than the mass, and the gravitational attraction, of tiny Mars.
Richards has correctly pointed out that the tiny Mars could hardly grab a tiny asteroid, moving about 6000 m.p.h. on the fly. Any asteroid buzzing Mars would be well past it in the time of an hour or two and be beyond any hope of capture.
But Richardson has not considered the possibility that Mars once in ancient times had a different orbit, wherein it caused the fragmentation of Astra. In Figure 4 (KRONOS X:3, p. 35), we have suggested that Deimos and Phobos were exploded backwards from Astra's trajectory. This had the tendency to cancel or neutralize the velocities of these two trabants, or to put a brake on them temporarily. Within our model, the capture of these two trabants is not only possible but also is the probable explanation, a capture along with some minor asteroidal debris.
The pitlets on Deimos and Phobos, quite numerous on such small trabants, give testimony to the possibility of other, smaller debris also gathering in rings around Mars.(15) And perhaps, if Figure 1 validly portrays the ancient orbit of Mars, later interactions with the Earth cleared out all of that debris except Deimos and Phobos.
[*!* Image] Hypothetical trajectories of the asteroids. 1. Current asteroids (Pallas, Ceres & Vesta). 2. Impact asteroids (Isidis, Hellas & Argyre). 3. Capture asteroids (Phobos & Deimos).
X. THE PROGRADE DIRECTION OF THE MOONS OF MARS
Figure 11 illustrates the capture of Deimos and Phobos. In order for these two trabants to be captured progradely or directly, the geometry requires that Astra approach Mars from the sunward side. This suggests that Astra was receding toward its aphelion, whereas Mars was just past aphelion and beginning its long 360 day journey toward perihelion.
XI. THE PERIHELIONS OF THE LARGEST ASTEROIDS
If this fragmentation occurred around 205,000,000 or 210,000,000 miles from the Sun, then how did the asteroids come to arrive at regions considerably more distant? For instance, among the ten largest asteroids, their average for perihelion is 240,000,000 miles.
There are two factors in considering an answer to this question. First, Astra was apparently moving in its orbit away from the sun, at the fatal scene. This motion was imparted to each of the fragments, plus a variety of vectors were picked up from the explosion force. The exploding force would accelerate some fragments, retard others, disperse yet others in sideward motions.
But, also, if the fragments nearly hit Mars, yet just missed, the gravity of Mars would have acted on these fragments as a booster precisely as the massive gravities of Jupiter and Saturn acted on some of the spacecraft. Thus there are five factors, at least, to consider in the acquired orbits of the current asteroids, which are:
These seem to be the five motions or forces which have brought the variety of asteroids into their current orbits.
Some thirteen levels of evidence have been presented in support of this concept of Mars and the asteroids. Perhaps, someday, some young celestial mechanician will program on a computer the orbits of the asteroids, and conceive of how to measure and adjust for the perturbing effects of Jupiter and Saturn.
In such a scene, many of the asteroids might be trailed back to one location some 205,000,000 to 210,000,000 miles from the Sun. They also might be trailed back to one certain timing. Location and timing . . . this is geography and history in an astronomical context.
We suspect this fragmentation was a recent event in the solar system, and will be found to be ancient in terms of thousands, not millions or billions of years.
Further, we suspect that such a location will occur in the general region of 270 deg from the Earth's autumnal equinox. That is the region directly overhead at midnight in mid or late June. (Orbital precession has been taken into account.)
An analysis of the physical geography of both hemispheres of Mars has been made. Both hemispheres have exhibited evidence for such a massive fragmentation. The Opposite Hemisphere contained such evidence as:
The Hemisphere of Craters contained such evidence as:
In counting and measuring, the following were found to be commensurate:
The conclusion was made that the fragmentation occurred some 3000 miles over and above the Southern Hemisphere of Mars, based on:
Concerning Deimos and Phobos, we discussed:
Concerning the current asteroids, we discussed:
All of this data is circumstantial evidence that:
Analyses of probable volumes of current asteroids and impact asteroids suggests that:
Once there were ten sisters (planets) in the heavens. These included four large ones - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune (the Jovians) - and six terrestrials (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Astra, and Pluto). After this event, there were but nine.(18) Near-by Mars shows the scars. Scattered asteroids do, in fact, suggest much about the development of the solar system. But the traditional concept of growing planetesimals for origin should be scrapped for models exhibiting capture and catastrophism. Deimos and Phobos could be unique; on the other hand they just might be two of many examples of a wide-ranging catastrophic cosmology if such were to be modeled.(19)
. . to be concluded.
REFERENCES AND NOTES7. Patrick Moore & Garry Hunt, Atlas of the Solar System (Chicago, 1983), p. 212.
8. Ibid. , 213.
9. Bogard, D. D. and P. Johnson, "Martian Gases in an Antarctic Meteorite?" Science, Vol. 221 (Aug. 12,1983), p. 651. Significant abundances of trapped argon, krypton, and xenon have been measured in shock-altered phases of the achondritic meteorite Elephant Moraine 79001 from Antarctica. The relative elemental abundances, the high ratios of argon-40 to argon-36 (*2000) and the high ratios of xenon-129 to xenon-132 (*2.0) of the trapped gas more closely resemble Viking data for the Martian atmosphere than data for noble gas components typically found on meteorites. These findings support earlier suggestions, made on the basis of geochemical evidence, that shergottities and related rare meteorites may have originated from the planet Mars. [Also see KRONOS IX: 1, pp. 108-109. - LMG ]
10. Moore, op. cit., p. 226.
11. Loc. cit.
12. The volcanic base of Olympus Mons is 180 miles in diameter, and covers more than 25,000 sq. miles. The caldera (cone) is 50 miles wide. The rim of the caldera is estimated at 13 miles high above the surrounding plain.
13. Elara, Himalia, Lysithea, and Leda all revolve retrogradely and may be captured asteroids. Carme, Ananke, Sinope, and Pasiphe all revolve directly (like the planets) and may also be captured asteroids. The largest is Himalia (diameter 105 miles). Others have diameters ranging between 50 miles (Elara) and 4 miles (Leda). Deimos and Phobos are also presumed to be captured asteroids.
14. Richards, Robert S., Mars (N.Y., 1964), p. 93.
15. Over the past three centuries, rings around a planet have been considered a rarity and an anomaly. Saturn (1) with its shining, icy rings was the sole example. Within the last decade, a thin ring, composed of dark, rock-like material has been discovered at Roche's Limit for Jupiter (2). And even more recently, a similar thin, dark ring has been found around Uranus (3). Neptune is too distant to see a ring system like that of Uranus, but many expect such to be found around Neptune also.
Based on the pitlets on Deimos and Phobos, we suspect that Mars (4) temporarily had a ring of asteroid-like debris. Astra's fragmentation is estimated at 5793 miles from the center of Mars. Phobos at 5760 miles is in the region of Roche's Limit. And it may well be that Phobos is the only remnant of that temporary ring. Deimos at 14,540 miles perhaps was captured independently of Phobos, although simultaneously.
Moreover, if the Mars-Frosty system interacted with the Earth-Moon system subsequently, and Frosty fragmented (deluging both planets with ice fragments), many of the ice fragments would temporarily assume orbits around Earth. There the ice fragments would be exposed to solar radiation and geomagnetic forces, ice being a dielectric substance. A massive deposition of ice in the region of Earth's magnetic polar regions, and/or the vortices of the radiation belts (containing the makings of an ice age), could be interpreted that (5) the Earth also temporarily had a ring system, composed of ice like Saturn's rather than rock like Jupiter's and Uranus'.
With Neptune and Pluto being too distant for decisive conclusions, this leaves only Mercury, Venus, and Astra as planets not having rings. And Astra became temporary rings in part, satellites of Jupiter and Mars in part, current asteroids, and impact asteroids. Perhaps Mercury and Venus are the exceptions rather than Saturn, as was assumed for three centuries.
16. Richards, loc. cit. "Suppose one of the satellites is a captured asteroid, captured in such a way that it revolves in a circular orbit in the plane of the planet's equator . . . It does seem incredible that Mars could have effected two such very special captures. FURTHER SPECULATION ALONG THIS LINE IS USELESS." (Our Caps.)
We note concerning Richards' conclusion that, 20 years ago, it was greeted with no objections. More information is now available and catastrophic evidence is in wide array. Some space research personnel even receive the nebular hypothesis cosmology with reservations and objections rather than with acceptance. It is no longer necessary, or logical, to accept Richards' "give-up" assessment for the origin of the Martian satellites.
17. One astronomical unit is 92,900,000 miles, the average distance of the Earth from the Sun. The region of 210,000,000 miles from the Sun, suspected to be the region of Mars' ancient aphelion, is about 2.25 a.u. Mars' current aphelion is about 1.6 a.u.
18. Astra must have had many near flybys with Mars prior to the fatal one. This paper merely covers the climax of that series, and it could have been entitled "Star Wars" rather than "The Scars of Mars" had attention been directed thereto. And if there were one or more encounters later between the Mars-Frosty system and the Earth-Moon system, then this paper would address the climax of merely Star Wars I. Star Wars II is a matter reserved for Part III.
19. In addition to the prominent and numerous craters, Mars' physical geography also exhibits river patterns. These rivers flowed much more rapidly than rivers on Earth despite Earth's larger gravity, 3X that of Mars. Moreover, with the two exceptions of dust storms and CO2 frosts, there is no evidence Mars has ever had a climate in the sense of interacting oceans and atmospheres. Part III will consider this aspect of Mars' physical geography. Together these matters comprise Star Wars I and II.