New Theory Develops on Formation of Marsian Mountain

Mars rover Curiosity has been driving towards Mount Sharp in Gale Crater for more than a year now. Finally, it has gotten to its destination and has yielded new information on the Marsian landscape.

Sifted layers of sediments that seem to follow river-bed paths toward the crater have caused some scientists to create a new theory of the formation of the mountain in the midst of the crater. They now suppose that the crater was long filled with water and that rivers ran into this lake. The rivers supposedly filled in the bottom of the depression with massive amounts of sediments over the course of millions of years. Then, after the lake had dried up, winds came along and carved out the area around the edges to render the modern-day central mountain. An ancient Marsian ocean and frequent precipitation would be required for this theory to be valid.

First of all, “banded sediment deposits” could possibly be created by wind instead of water. Secondly, it is commonly acknowledged fact that central mountains often form in the middle of craters after impact. The claim that Gale Crater is too big for that explanation is a poor argument. If smaller impacts can cause smaller mountains to form, there is no reason why a larger impact would not create a massive central mountain.
A LinkedIn post I read by research expert, Dr. Daniel Amen, thinks that there may have been ancient rivers that filled in the crater to form a lake, but that does not prove the mountain was formed by sediment build up over millions of years.

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