The stunning pattern of herringbone created by rock falling upon Mars is revealed in unusual boulder tracks.

  • NASA researchers found that thousands of boulders have left a similar herringbone pattern. 
  • Scientists say the tracks can last for a couple of years, before being swept away by strong winds or destroyed by them. They are then framed with dust and sand. 
  • Scientists have never seen rockfalls on Mars before. They have previously been found on the Moon.  
  • These pictures were taken by HiRISE’s camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE in 2006. 

Scientists think they might have found records that show that Mars has tumbling rocks caused by earthquakes. 

NASA has found that the boulders create a herringbone pattern. Thousands of them have been observed. 

Scientists estimate that the tracks can last for a couple of years, before being swept away by strong winds or destroyed by them. They are also framed with dust and sand.  

Scientists have never seen rockfalls on Mars before. They have also been found on Mars on the moon and on comets. Researchers are now more interested in whether or not the rocks are falling right now. 

Images were taken between 2006 and 2020 using a camera mounted on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE. It was launched in 2005. Scientists in India could see as little as 10 inches of detail from a laboratory.   

The Mars Perseverance rover has scientists believing they may have discovered records of tumbling boulders on the red planet caused by recent earthquakes

Scientists believe that the Mars Perseverance Rover may have found evidence of red-hot earthquakes causing tumbling boulders.

Tracks observed by the Mars High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (HiRISE)

Tracks viewed by Mars High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE).

The tracks are seen as evidence of recent seismic activity on the red planet, which many had previously thought saw all of its geological activity happen years ago

They are evidence that recent seismic activity has occurred on the red planet. This is contrary to what many believed.

One of the researchers, Dr. Vijayan said, “We can distinguish individual boulders.” 

This is because HiRISE’s camera outlived its intended lifetime, they say. 

The tracks were found to be able to detect seismic activity on Mars in December’s study. This could prove the planet dynamically active, contrary to the popular belief that Mars was mostly dead years ago. 

Ingrid Daubar from Brown University, a planetary scientist, stated that Mars seemed to have been a dead, cold planet for many years.    

Vijayan’s team discovered over 4500 tracks of boulders that lasted a mile.     

The researchers studied thousands of images made from 2006 through 2020, meaning much of the activity happened in the last 15 years

Researchers examined thousands of images from 2006 to 2020. This means that most of the activity occurred in the past 15 years.

'For a long time, we thought that Mars was this cold, dead planet,' said Brown University planetary scientist Ingrid Daubar

Ingrid Daubar, planetary scientist at Brown University, said that Mars had been thought to be a cold and dead planet for a while.

Tracks that sometimes branch or change in direction are evidence of a boulder falling mid-fall.  

It is interesting to note that a third was discovered in 2006 after the research started. That means the activity responsible for them occurred in the last fifteen years.  

This could be evidence that there are earthquakes on Mars, as rockfalls often indicate seismic activity.   

Alfred McEwen of University of Arizona said that this was likely due to the fact that the region near which the research was performed is located in volcanic territory, so it’s likely there would be seismic activity.   

According to Dr. McEwen who wasn’t involved in this research, “These massive masses of dense rocks loaded up on Mars’ surface causes stresses in Mars’ surrounding crust.” 

The HiRISE camera is part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was launched in 2005

HiRISE is part of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It was launched in 2005.

HiRISE has previously discovered revelations like downhill flow on the red planet

HiRISE previously found revelations such as downhill flow on Mars 

NASA’s InSight Lander has detected hundreds of earthquakes since 2019. Cerberus Fossae, the area they were focusing on was home to two of the biggest.    

Vijayan’s group believes that next, they will take the camera into the colder and polar regions on Mars.