Scientists find the source of all that crazy Mars dust

Mars is a dust bowl thanks to one immense geological feature, a new study suggests.

© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.  

By Amanda Kooser, CNET

Dark sediments appear in this NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image of a section of the Medusae Fossae formation.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

[post_ads]thanks to a nutty global dust storm that sent one of NASA's rovers into hibernation. All that dust had to come from somewhere, and scientists believe they've found the main source.

The over 600-mile-long (1,000-kilometer) Medusae Fossae Formation near Mars' equator traces its .  A new study published in the journal as the single largest source of dust on Mars.

"Mars wouldn't be nearly this dusty if it wasn't for this one enormous deposit that is gradually eroding over time and polluting the planet, essentially," from Johns Hopkins University.

The research team looked at the chemical composition of Mars dust using data collected by rovers and landers from different points across the Red Planet. "Dust everywhere on the planet is enriched in sulfur and chlorine and it has this very distinct sulfur to chlorine ratio," lead author  said.
© NASA   It's awful hazy here right now.

The scientists compared this dusty fingerprint with data collected by the spacecraft showing the same chemical match in the Medusae Fossae Formation.
The scientists calculated how much of the formation has eroded over the course of 3 billion years and estimated that the quantity of dust on Mars is enough to form a global layer between 6.5 feet (2 meters) and 39 feet (12 meters) thick.

The current global dust storm has been raging since late May, leaving and creating . It's no wonder Mars is able to kick up such a fuss of dust right now. It has plenty to spare.


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Technology News: Scientists find the source of all that crazy Mars dust
Scientists find the source of all that crazy Mars dust
Mars is a dust bowl thanks to one immense geological feature, a new study suggests.
Technology News
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