More ‘bubbles’ from Curiosity – a lot of them

Mastcam image from sol 137 showing more of the “bubbles” on the bedrock. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The “bubbles” seen by the Curiosity rover continue to be an interesting oddity. Another recent image from sol 137 shows a bunch of them on the bedrock, looking like tiny vents or really tiny volcanoes.

Close-up view of some of the “bubbles” from the sol 137 image. Their conical shape makes them look like tiny vents or volcanoes. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Another close-up view of one of the conical “bubbles.” Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

As seen in previous images, they seem to be in various stages of erosion, but generally have a conical or raised rim structure. The ones in this image appear to be more “filled in” while others seen previously were more like empty shells. Most of them also seem to be within one “swath” across the bedrock.

In appearance, they’ve been referred to as mud bubbles, vents, domes, rings, pimples and ant hills. Their origin is still being debated, but it will be interesting to see how many more are found in this area and in the surrounding terrain.

0 thoughts on “More ‘bubbles’ from Curiosity – a lot of them”

  1. Could they be the reminisce of sea worm vents, now long time fossilised on the ancient bed rock? They have had a purpose, which must have been the product of something or stuff from below them exiting.
    All very interesting. Great work Paul.

  2. They look very much like what happens when water soaks through sandstone, carrying minerals, and then evaporates from the surface. The higher points get more mineralized, thus erode more slowly, thus stick up higher as the rest of the rock retreats.

    Since the mineralization would be just on the surface layer of the cone/bubble, then a change in conditions that knocked the top off the cone would expose the weaker inner volume, which would then erode downward, leaving the walls unsupported, eventually leaving a crater.

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