Dingo Gap: new panorama and a rockhound’s bonanza
Mastcam panorama of Dingo Gap from sol 528. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Damia Bouic
Dingo Gap has turned out to be quite an interesting place for the Curiosity rover, being both scenic and of great geological interest. Rocks of all sizes and shapes litter the landscape amid the cliffs and sand dunes and Curiosity is continuing to study this area before driving further south toward Mount Sharp. Another new panorama by Damia Bouic shows the scenery in stunning high resolution and there is also a great overview by Emily Lakdawalla on The Planetary Society blog.
As is common in such landscapes, some of the rocks can take on curious shapes, such as the ones below, and of course the “firepit” mentioned previously. What story do they tell about the history of this area of Mars? The thin, flat, platy rocks look a lot like the shale outcrops seen previously at Shaler. Are they shale also or something different? The perfect place for a rockhound!
This rock kind of looks like a snail shell and the sharply pointed end is quite distinct from the rounded “ribbed” main body. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Context image for “snail shell” rock. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
This one looks like a shield. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Context image for “shield” rock. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
This boulder looks at first like a large rock sitting on a thin flat slab but on closer inspection appears to actually be all one formation. So how did it form? Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Context image for previous boulder/slab formation. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
A partially buried wall? Looks like one, but more likely just an eroded edge of the small cliff. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech