Pentagonal landmass coined “D&M Pyramid”


Figure 2 in The D&M Pyramid of Mars (1996), by Erol Torun

The D&M Pyramid is a pentagonal (5 sided) geomorphic landmass located in the Cydonia (region of Mars). It was named “D&M” after Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar of Goddard Space Flight Center by Richard C. Hoagland.

Morphology Edit

The front of the D&M Pyramid, closest to the Face on Mars, is formed by two congruent angles, having two larger congruent angles forming the opposing side. A fifth angle forms the rear section. The pyramid exhibits some domed uplift on its right side, and what appears to be an unusually deep impact crater further to the same side.[1] The geometric regularity of the D&M Pyramid, together with its alignment with other enigmatic landforms, has led some to speculate that the object may have an artificial origin.[2][3][4]

Fluvial processes is not accepted as a mechanism for having formed the D&M Pyramid, as there are no indications that water ever flowed 1 km deep in Cydonia Mensae (1 km being the approximate height of the D&M Pyramid. Sharp edged multi-faceted symmetrical shapes are also not characteristic of fluvial landforms.[1]

Cydonia Mensae

The morphology of Cydonia Mensae is rather complex and not completely understood. The region exhibits evidence for previous epochs of cratering, erosion, and deposition, contributing to a wide variety of landform observations and surface types. The geology of Cydonia Mensae was first described by Guest, Butterworth, and Greeley.[5] The region shows a mixture of smooth and fractured plains, and a small to moderate amount of cratering. Most relief in the vicinity of the D&M Pyramid is composed of mesas, knobs, and smooth plains material. Mesas are most likely the remnants of an earlier surface type that was removed by erosion, leaving mesas of more resistant material. Knobs may have been formed in a similar fashion, perhaps from rough, heavily cratered terrain. The shape of some knob material appears to have been modified by mass wasting or slumping, perhaps driven by the freezing and thawing of ground ice, with the excess material carried off by wind or, under different climatic conditions, by water or glacial ice. Further evidence for some type of erosion is provided by the presence of several pedestal craters in Cydonia Mensae. A pedestal crater is an impact crater surrounded by an ejecta blanket that ends in a steep scarp that may drop hundreds of meters to the surface. The ejecta blanket is presumably composed of material that is more resistant to erosion than the surrounding surface.[1]

There is a hypothesis that the northern Martian basin called Acidalia Planitia was once a shallow sea. This would place the area of Cydonia Mensae under study near the former shoreline. Small craters in this area appear to have been modified by water erosion, perhaps by shallow wave action. Thus would match the observations of recent researchers that linear features in this area may be lacustrine deposits resulting from shallow wave action at the edge of an ancient sea.[6][1]

DiPietro & MolenaarEdit

The images obtained by the Viking mission to Mars in 1976 are some that show peculiarly shaped surface features that are inconsistent with the regional geology and with surrounding landforms. Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar, computer scientists working at the Goddard Space Flight Center, were working with the Viking imagery when they found images of the “Face on Mars” and surrounding features, such as the pentagonal pyramid. DiPietro and Molenaar's image processing aided in the observation of landforms that are inconsistent with the local geology. Computer enhancement of these images revealed unusual details that could not be accepted, and were largely ignored by the planetary sciences community. Thus, their findings were published independently as a monograph.[2][1]

Richard HoaglandEdit

In 1983, Richard Hoagland[3] organized and led the "Independent Mars Investigation", a cooperative effort of specialists in image processing, geology, architecture, and anthropology who studied these objects in greater detail. It was from this investigation that more information began to emerge concerning geometry and alignments. DiPietro and Molenaar had previously noted the presence of a massive pyramid, nearly 3 km in length and 1 km high, to the south of the city and face. Hoagland, working with a higher quality image processed by Stanford Research Institute, Inc., observed the object to be a 5-sided, bilaterally symmetrical pyramid whose axis of symmetry is aimed directly at the face. Hoagland also noted the alignment of one edge of the pyramid with the city square and of another edge of the pyramid with an unusually shaped round hill that lies to the east of the city on the same latitude as the city square that was named the "Tholus". Hoagland named the large pyramid the "D&M Pyramid", after the earlier work of DiPietro and Molenaar.[1]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The D&M Pyramid of Mars (1996), by Erol Torun
  2. 2.0 2.1 V. DiPietro and G. Molenaar, 'Unusual Martian Surface Features' Mars Research, Glen Dale, Maryland (1982).
  3. 3.0 3.1 R.C. Hoagland, 'The Monuments of Mars - A City on the Edge of Forever', North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1987, 1992.
  4. R.R. Pozos, 'The Face on Mars: Evidence for a Lost Civilization?', Chicago Review Press, Chicago, 1986.
  5. J.E. Guest, P.S. Butterworth and R. Greeley, 'Geological Observations in the Cydonia region of Mars from Viking', J. Geophys. Res., 82, 4111-4120 (1977).
  6. T.J. Parker, D.S. Gorsline, R.S. Saunders, D.C. Pieri, and D.M. Schneeberger, 'Coastal Geomorphology of the Martian Northern Plains', J. Geophys. Res., 82, No. E6, 11,061-11,078 (1993).

Resources Edit