NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has discovered sandstone formations that shows texture and inclined bedding structures characteristic of deposits that formed as sand dunes, then became rock.
This outcrop pictured above is part of a geological layer that Curiosity’s science team calls the Stimson unit. It has a structure called crossbedding on a large scale that the team has interpreted as deposits of sand dunes formed by wind.
Similar-looking petrified sand dunes are common in the Southwest of the United States.
Beneath the Stimson unit is a layer of mudstone that was deposited in a lake environment.
An even higher resolution image can be found at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA19818
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.