Utah’s “cosmic navel” yields insights about Mars

The Curiosity rover continues its exploration of Mars’ Gale Crater and the crater’s most prominent feature, Mount Sharp. Scientists hope that Curisity’s study of the mountain will help reconstruct the geological history of the area as the rover studies numerous sedimentary rock layers. The odd moat-like geology surrounding Gale Crater has an analog on Earth, a geologic feature in southern Utah dubbed the “cosmic navel” or also called the “Inselberg pit.” According to U geologist Marjorie Chan, the pit features a carved moat of rock with an internal mound produced by wind erosion. This unusual example can help geologists better understand the forces that shaped Mount Sharp. Chan will present this wok at the Dec. 13 American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco.
Marjorie Chan | 801-581-6551 | marjorie.chan@utah.edu