Yet Even MORE Glass Fun Facts! Mars Is Filled With Glass!

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C’mon Wall-e

Dark patches visible across much of the northern Martian hemisphere aren’t canals or vegetation, as once thought, but glasscreated by volcanic action according to a new study. The discovery by Briony Horgan and James Bell from Arizona State University, provides evidence of the same sort of processes seen on Earth, also happening on the Red Planet.

Dark areas are thought to be volcanic glass.
Credit: NASA/University of Arizona. 

Using near infrared spectroscopic data collected by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter, Horgan and Bell found widespread weathered volcanic glass covering the surface of the Martian lowlands.

“The volcanic glass was created when hot magma reacted explosively with ice or water,” says Horgan. “The same sort of thing happens in Iceland, where volcanoes erupt under glaciers. The interaction with the ice and the water causes the magma to become super-explosive, creating tons of sand sized black particles…”We see these dark plains and enormous glassy sand dune fields up in the northern Martian polar regions”

Horgan and Bell also found evidence of dips in the spectrum consistent with weathering caused by the glass being exposed to acidic water.

Their finding, which appear in the journal Geology, represents the first detection of widespread surface weathering during the Amazonian epoch — the most recent of the three Martian geologic periods. Click HERE to read about it in the Huffington Post

Mars may have glass, but what it needs is a more feminine touch.

Click on each line below to jump to previous Glass Fun Facts postings:
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