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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Mystery of Mars Polar Pinwheel Unraveled
26 May 2010 1:09 pm
Something strange has happened to Mars's polar ice cap. Instead of a uniform, roughly circular blob, like on Earth, the Martian version resembles a pinwheel (left), with dry, spiral troughs separating the ice sheets. There's also Chasma Boreale, the deep, dagger-shaped gouge that cuts across the pinwheel. Scientists had thought that the canyon, which is 2 kilometers deep, was carved by some catastrophic flood in the distant past. Now in two papers published tomorrow in Nature, researchers think they have solved both mysteries. Using a radar survey of the pole (right), which peered under the ice, they conclude that Chasma Boreale wasn't dug out at all. Instead, Martian winds built up the steep, canyon-like walls over millions of years. As for the pinwheel, the team reports that it likewise formed over many millennia, as strong winds pushed apart the dry ice crystals on the surface, much like winds on Earth create sand dunes.
See more ScienceShots.