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18 Jun-22:24:43 Re: a potpourri of musings....barely related to minerals. (Bob Harman)
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17 Jun-22:03:54 Re: cleaning nifontovite (Peter Megaw)
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17 Jun-14:37:55 Cleaning nifontovite (Linus)
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A potpourri of musings....barely related to minerals.
  
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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: Jun 12, 2019 22:12    Post subject: A potpourri of musings....barely related to minerals.  

Sometimes, when I have some free time, I think of odd natural situations, interesting, but usually barely having much directly to do with minerals.

Maybe some forum users will find these of interest or add to this thread so here goes.

In 2011 I visited Alaska. I had always wanted to see an Alaskan glacier so we went to see several up there. I was really impressed with the deep blue color of the glacial ice. Reading about that, I learned that the color is due to the play of light thru the glacial ice and the blue ice is denser than usual ice such as in ice cubes. This is due to extreme compression of this ice over very long time periods. All else being equal, this being the case, glacial blue ice floats lower in water than an equal amount of ordinary ice. However it still floats......hmmm.

Consider this. You are out field collecting near a rock wall such as a road cut. I have done this many times over the past 30+ years. Several times very large boulders have fallen from hi up on the rock wall. (I have never been hit.....lucky me!). If a 10 ton boulder falls 20 feet away you both feel a slight ground vibration, and hear the loud boom from the falling rock. If you are not looking at the falling rock, it is the loud boom that catches your attention. On Earth that is. When rock collectors go to the Moon a 10 ton boulder (much, much larger than 10 ton boulder on Earth because of less gravity) falling right next to you would not make even a whisper. You might only feel the slight ground vibration. As there is no atmosphere, there would not be the slightest sound from this falling giant size rock, even just a few feet away! Accustomed to hearing sounds here on Earth, this concept of nary a whisper from a falling boulder is hard for me to grasp.

Finally think of this situation. Watching TV one evening, you see the weather people reporting in the midst of a gale. The wind is howling at 70 mph (or 100+kmh). The reporter is leaning over, hardly able to stand up to report. When we go to Mars, the same weather reporter will barely notice the 70 mph Martian winds as there is very little air pressure. The reporter will only feel the howling winds of a Martian gale as a gentle zephyr in the thin Martian atmosphere.
If the same reporter could ever stand on the surface of Jupiter, a 1 mph wind flow would shove him along, going 1 mile in 1 hour, just as if he were being shoved along by a raging river here on Earth. No fighting that current, air or water! Very dense atmosphere and "very dense" thoughts. Here the 10 ton boulder, now much much smaller than that on Earth, due to immense Jovian gravity, might just float gently thru the dense atmosphere toward the surface.....or will it fall quickly due to the immense pull of the planet's gravity?? Dense to think about!

Interesting to muse about. BOB
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Jun 13, 2019 01:41    Post subject: Re: A potpourri of musings....barely related to minerals.  

Bob, I had wondered before how the very thin Martian atmosphere was able to create dust storms... How is that extremely thin wind able to lift up and entrain particles of minerals? Yet apparently it does so on a planetary scale. Perhaps because the dust particles are extremely small? Colloidal size? If so, that would perhaps be rather deleterious for the health of any human colonists. Dust control will be a problem.
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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: Jun 13, 2019 04:41    Post subject: Re: A potpourri of musings....barely related to minerals.  

I am sure you are right, Alfredo. Martian dust storms are often nearly planet wide. The only dust able to be picked up into the thin atmosphere must be extremely small particles. Far far smaller particles than dust particles in any terrestrial dust storm. I think this also suggests how extremely dry much of the Martian surface must really be.

I have one more musing that, not only I, but many other theoretical planetary scientists are currently thinking about. I will add it soon. BOB
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Dale Hallmark




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PostPosted: Jun 13, 2019 08:31    Post subject: Re: A potpourri of musings....barely related to minerals.  

Since Mars gravity is 0.376 of earth...and if density were to be the same for dust, then a thinner atmosphere (much thinner) would still pick up a slightly larger particle size that the same flow on earth. Since the atmosphere is so much thinner on Mars I suspect that difference in size due to gravity is negligible.

Whatever dust prevention the Mars Rover may have had seems to have worked well so I don't think excluding dust and wear from mechanical parts and from potential habitations would pose that big of a challenge. Compaction of sediments would happen much deeper seems like. It is a wonder there is a solid surface seems to me like.

Dale
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David K. Joyce




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PostPosted: Jun 13, 2019 09:01    Post subject: Re: A potpourri of musings....barely related to minerals.  

The upside of collecting at a roadcut on the moon, amongst falling rocks, is that falling rocks of a size that would kill or seriously injure you here on Earth, would just glance off of your shoulder or you could just bat them away if you happened to notice them falling relatively slowly towards you. :)
Icebergs are just chunks of fresh-water glaciers floating around in the ocean. On the island of Newfoundland, there is a tradition of going out in boats and chopping off "bergy bits" and storing them in the freezer to use as ice in drinks. The Newfoundlander delights in giving a rum and coke to a an unexpecting visitor (often a "mainlander") then watching the visitor when a "bergy bit" explodes in the drinking glass, as the extra dense ice expands quickly in the relatively warm liquid. :)
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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2019 22:24    Post subject: Re: A potpourri of musings....barely related to minerals.  

One of the greatest scientific mysteries of modern times is that question of "are we alone". And, if we are not unique in the universe, might there be other intelligent life forms out there.

These 2 related questions are constantly being mulled over by, not only planetary scientists, but most thoughtful curious folks in today's developed societies. Witness all the movies based on these questions.

From a purely faith based point of view, the answer might be argued that Humanity is unique in the universe. Most scientists however believe that based on all scientific principles and evidence of large number statistics of the huge numbers of stars in the galaxies, some surely will have planets capable of containing life. Of these, if evolutionary principles are universal, intelligent life might somewhere have evolved. Maybe even in large numbers of multiple places.

My musing, however, assumes the above scientific assumptions. I assume intelligent life out there exists. The musing is 2 fold: what will this intelligent life look like and have we ever been physically visited or will we ever really be physically visited?

I first will give you the answers, then briefly discuss them. I feel very strongly that any really intelligent life out there will look surprisingly like us. They will be surprisingly human-like.
As for the second part, no they have never come here....no Area 51.....no UFOs.....Too bad! I just think distances are so vast, that even with light speed travel or suspended animation etc etc physical visits to other worlds with intelligent beings probably will never occur. Maybe radio signals, but never visits. Consider this, if anyone has ever really visited us relatively recently such as 1000 years ago or 100,000 years ago, they apparently left without any really tangible evidence of them being here. Surely a true exploratory visit might have initiated some(!) evidence to be be left behind for others to discover. Visiting, probably taking animal, plant and mineral samples home and then leaving the world without leaving even a trace of the visit just seems unlikely to me. Perhaps, if they visited 10 million or more years ago their calling card has disappeared by now. So why not return again more recently? Intelligent beings leave some type of calling card so others might find it to ponder.

The question of what the intelligent beings might look like is, to me, the most interesting of these musings. Humans are not "built" randomly. We are intelligent, in large part, by the way we are built. We follow physical laws of size and weight based on our planet. We follow laws of breathing, taking in nutrition and getting rid of waste products also based on universal laws of evolution of life. We reproduce, are born, grow to adulthood, and then, die all based upon some type of universal laws. If we are to be intelligent, we have a forward looking head to sense the environment. That is, we have to see, hear, touch, smell etc. We have to manipulate the environment with free limbs including opposable fingers like our thumbs. All this is not random. Intelligent beings, generation after generation will have to improve the world around them to make things both better and more complex. So a forward facing head with a large brain, a complex communication system, speech, free limbs with opposable fingers and thumbs all will be necessary for intelligent life to develop. If all the laws of evolution and development are universal, intelligent aliens almost certainly will look surprisingly like us. BOB
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