Comparison With Known Mars Rocks
If the Frass Meteorite came from Mars, shouldn't it look like other rocks from Mars? A number of meteorites on Earth are said to have come from Mars, but the Viking and Pathfinder missions have both given us close up views of the rocks on the surface of Mars. If we look closely, in every view of the surface of Mars, we see rounded rocks, many with a parting plane and many with one or more red streaks, much like the Frass Meteorite. As we look at the rocks of Mars, it is uncanny how closely the Frass Meteorite resembles the very rocks we have seen on the surface of Mars.
The Frass rock represents only a single sample from the
entire world of Mars, yet in some ways, it may contain much of the history of
Mars. It is far too early to be sure about anything, but after looking at the
Frass rock for so many years and comparing that information with all the
evidence coming in from other sources, I am willing to describe an initial
model which attempts to explain the different
rocks shown below.
The basic history of Mars seems to be such: In the early days of the planet, there was much energy available and so volcanoes flowed constantly and kept the atmosphere replenished. A number of the pictures of Mars taken from orbit, show layers where watercourses have cut through ancient material to expose these layers. I think these layers represent the early lava flows from giant volcanoes, that essentially covered the planet with these initial layers. These rocks are represented by number 1 in the photo and by ALH84001, the Martian meteorite which is very old (4.5ga) and which contained the first signs of Martian life. These rocks would have been created under a greater atmospheric pressure and thus are more dense than later rocks. Also, please realize that if these rocks do contain bacterial remnants, it is almost a billion years before the same things show up in Earth Samples. I think it is likely that life started first on Mars, probably coming from comets, which are just the oceans of ancient worlds blown apart by dying stars. Then, life on Earth, was transferred from Mars by meteorite much like the Frass Meteorite. NASA estimates that 1,000 pounds of Mars land on Earth each year. Over the history of our planet, this would amount to a lot of Mars on Earth.
Water and gasses would have spewed from the vents of the giant Martian volcanoes and the water would have collected in many different places. Oceans were formed in the early years, but as the systems grew older, the calderas of the volcanoes held water and these appear to have burst from time to time and let water out of the calderas. But later, as time passes and the energy of the planet decreased, the water receded from the oceans and concentrated around the volcanoes. There were the large lakes in the calderas and small pools everywhere that liquid water could collect. These pools would have been been near the volcanoes and downwind from the prevailing winds.
Over time, the main calderas went silent, but the volcanic activity continued as side vents. On Earth, we often see where the side vents move with time. Pictures from Mars seem to suggest this has happened and may still be happening. These side vent flows would be occurring on a regular basis for millions of years and maybe on cycles that last 10's of millions of years. These flows would cool rapidly like pillow lava and would explain the large number of round rocks on Mars. These flows would also flow across the ancient watercourses that were created when the calderas gave up their water in cataclysmic floods. Many of these flows occurred while Mars still had an atmosphere and thus have been exposed to water and have had time to rust. These are the "red" rocks we see represented by the number 3 above in the picture. There seems to be an entire field of these rocks. The Frass rock has some of these kinds of rocks and I have cleverly called them the "red" rocks.
Now rocks type 2 and 4 present a problem. Some people think that they are sedimentary rocks and others think they are just more of the lava flow type rocks. In the Frass rock, there is only sedimentary material that has been on the surface. I have yet to find any sedimentary type rock, that has been under the surface of the planet and thus compressed into harder rock. (After examining the Frass Meteorite for several months daily at the UFO Museum in Roswell, I did finally find one little microscopic piece that appears to me more firmly packed sedimentary material.) Since Mars has had such a simple history, compared to Earth, I currently don't think there is any kind of rock like sandstone, where the sand has been pushed under other material and then compressed. So I think rock 2 is just another kind of rock 1 and that rock 4 is just another kind of rock 2. Since the red rock flowed into sandy areas, it would have a lot of sand in it. If it had been under water, some of this sand would be washed out. Rock 4 appears to have undergone this process.
After the atmosphere essentially left the planet, some activity still remained. (I now suspect that the atmosphere left Mars a number of times. Mars shows to have been hit by very large asteroids six or seven times in its history. It may have been the case, that these large hits disrupted the ocean and atmospheric system. But since the volcanoes were still active, they re-powered the system each time and recreated the ocean and atmosphere. If so, this would have meant that life on Mars would be disrupted also, and one would think it would interfere with the development of more complex creatures. This large cycle of wet and dry, could explain the evolution of the Glassy Martian Rock Fungus (glassies) that are currently living in the Frass Meteorite. These creatures would have had to learn to deal with large periods of reduced water.) Rock number 5 represents the gray rock that I think probably formed after there was no more water, or at least there was no water where the rock formed. It is gray because it is made from the source material that was gray, which is rock number 1. (I think the chemistry of the rock and its contents clearly show the gray rock to be side venting, and thus it is just the rock number 1 remelted a single time. That is why, even though it is the youngest material in the Frass Meteorite, it has the oldest chemistry.) The gray rock has more open and larger vesicles, probably because it was formed with less atmospheric pressure than the red rock or rock number 1.
And finally, rock number 6 is a plant. I know some of you are disappointed, but rock number 6 is actually the Frass rock that has been electronically altered to make it appear that it is still on Mars. Rock number 5 would probably be a "sister rock" to rock number 6 (The Frass Meteorite).
picture to the left clearly shows the red streak in a rock on the surface of
Mars. The two other inserts are false colors to enhance the contrast, but
the surface image on the left shows gray rocks, and one has a definite red
streak through it. Since the Frass Meteorite and the "Ginger" probably
didn't come from a single source, or location on Mars, then there must be some
planet-wide reason why so many rocks have red streaks and are relatively round.
I believe the basic model presented above helps explain how this could happen.
When rocks are first made on Mars (and many on Earth) they are gray. As
they oxidize, they become more red. Ancient water systems broke up these
early rocks and split them into small pieces. Later lava flows attached to
these rocks while the lava was still hot. The rock above was probably made
in at least two stages, just like the Frass Meteorite.
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