TMA-1: The Martian Artifact - More on Martian Meteorology
More on Martian Meteorology
by Robert D. Morningstar
(Copyright 2004-2006, RDM*)
The wide area of weather that I observed around Tharsis and Solis Lacus during my observation appeared to be replete with fog banks, cloud formations with vapors along its rim, similar to those, which I observed emanating from the Hellas Basin during my August 27 observation, previously cited.
The unique topography of the Tharsis highlands along the Tharsis Bulge appears to be the cause of the formation of the thousand-mile long twin rolls of altostratus clouds that I observed and noted on August 28th-29th, 2003. The cylindrical clouds that I observed may have been formed by a Martian jet stream, coursing perpendicularly across the region of the Tharsis Bulge.
As they course over the planet, fast moving Martian planetary winds seemed to cascade from the higher terrain of the Tharsis region into the long troughs formed by the two "White Tracts" (Tractus Albus Australis and Borealis), one to the south and one to the north. Thus, the heavier CO2 molecules in the atmosphere would cascade like a "windfall" (as opposed to a "waterfall" like Niagara Falls on Earth) resulting in a very rapid pressure drop "topside" across the entire length of the Tharsis region along what may be well described as "The Palisades of Tharsis."
The cascading winds and rapid decline in atmospheric pressure above the "drop zone" would result in condensation processes nearly identical to the formation of rolling clouds, "lenticular clouds" or "Lennies", formed as winds roll across and over mountaintops on Earth. Due to the terrain features of what I call "The Palisades of the Tharsis Bulge", i.e., long, straight cliffs extending for over a thousand miles, the resulting cloud formations might well be described as "Tubular Lennies."
Of particular interest are those to be seen forming over Mt. Rainier, WA (similar to those formed over Olympus Mons and the volcanoes of Tharsis Montes) and 3 others labeled:
"Pete Carpenter / 'The Finger', taken in the Province of Granada, Spain."
"Ian Nicolson / May 2006 in Oxley, Brisbane, Australia."
"Al Macdonald / Taken at Incline Village Nevada, looking east towards Carson Valley."
Each of these photos provides a facsimile of Martian cloud characteristics seen near Solis Lacus and the Xanthe regions of Mars by the author in August 2003.
If the reader can envision such clouds extending in parallel rows for over 1,000 miles, the reader will have a clear idea of Martian cloud dynamics to be seen forming along the palisades of the Tharsis highlands.
The Mariner 9 photomap-TMA-1 comparison above shows the northern region of Solis Lacus and the Xanthe region on a clear day. In pre-2005 NASA computerized photos, large and expansive cloud formations were made to appear to be desert areas due to color level adjustment and modification of computer-generated images. I have discovered Mariner 9 photos depicting the area north and south of Valles Marinaris devoid of clouds and showing extremely accurate details of the cliffs and floor of Solis Lacus. Overlays presented here demonstrate this clearly.
The Mariner 9 and TMA-1 overlays are available at The TMA-1 Website:
These overlays prove geometrically that a one-to-one correspondence exists between terrain features shown in the Mariner 9 photos and details depicted in TMA-1, The Martian Artifact. (See details in the appendix below "TMA-1: The Martian Artifact - More on Martian Meteorology Website" for details on how to set up the strobe feature and alignment of the images for comparison).
NASA Image above, computer rectified and enhanced by RDM, shows Solis Lacus region of Mars to be well over a hundred miles deep asteroid impact crater, which created Valles Marinaris and "The Tharsis Bulge."
I believe that I have uncovered in TMA-1 what may truly and literally be described and deciphered as "A Message in from Mars." TMA-1 reveals a message, inviting our attention and calling us to explore the mystery that lies inside and surrounding the remarkable region of Mars called Solis Lacus.
A Flight over The Valles Marinaris
On Mars 15th, 2006, NASA/JPL released a remarkable Mars Orbiter fly-by over Valles Marinaris and the Tharsis Montes. This amazing video will familiarize the reader with the terrain features of the region, which forms the northern border of Solis Lacus. The reader should take note of the diagrams of the region shown on the webpage below provided by the Planetary Society, which demonstrates that the cliffs of the Sinai Region, south of Candor and Mellas Chasmata, fall precipitously in an nearly vertical drop of 4.79 miles (7.7 km) before the terrains begins a downward slope into the "The Martian Abyss" of Solis Lacus stretching for several thousand miles (of which only 92.35 miles are shown using the Los Angeles basin overlay to camouflage the catastrophic event that transpired there ages ago. I advise the reader to pay particular attention to the first frame and the very last frames of the Mars Odyssey flight video, which show the northern end of Solis Lacus, giving a hint of the true dimensions of the crater. The final frame is most interesting in that it shows two large meteor or small asteroid impact craters (on the right hand side, which actually struck the cliffs but which due to the camera angle of the final frame are made to appear as if they are on flat terrain.
This writer noted these impact craters in the original Mariner photo discussed above and they have become significant landmarks in this analysis of the area.
Mars Odyssey Flight over Valles Marinaris.
Mars Odyssey Still Images of Candor/Melas region with Los Angeles Basin overlay (courtesy of The Planetary Society):
Story continues here.