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Layered Rocks near Mount Sharp on Mars

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Feb 9, 2015 6:30 am via: NASA
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What caused these Martian rocks to be layered? The leading hypothesis is an ancient Martian lake that kept evaporating and refilling over 10 million years — but has now remained dry and empty of water for billions of years. The featured image, taken last November by the robotic Curiosity rover, shows one-meter wide Whale Rock which is part of the Pahrump Hills outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp.

Also evident in the image is cross-bedding — rock with angled layers — which were likely facilitated by waves of sand. Curiosity continues to find many layered rocks like this as it continues to roll around and up 5.5-km high Mount Sharp.

Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS

Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS

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