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Aug 30, 2005
Martian Thunderbolt Strikes a Positive Note

An “inverted crater” near Mars’ south pole may indicate electrical deposition.

This circular feature in the ice cap at Mars’ south pole shows significant differences from the electrically eroded craters and rilles found at the north pole. The almost perfect circularity of the feature together with the concentric ridges is an earmark of its electrical origin. But the ridges gently undulate around the central funnel-shaped depression. They don’t have the sharply-cut and steep sides typical of electrical discharge machining (EDM). And although there is a tiny peak of material in the center of the funnel, the funnel is rather the opposite of a crater’s central peak.

The small-scale texture of the surface also departs from the usual appearance of EDM surfaces. The texture is made up of roughly concentric and radial lines around the center of the feature, giving an “alligator skin” appearance. But instead of being cut into the surface, the “humps” between them seem to have been piled up onto the surface.

This surface contrasts with the remains of an overlying layer that lie mostly to the left of the funnel. That layer has been eaten away by typical EDM trenches and pits, which also show the terraces that appear in other eroded areas of the ice cap. Significantly, the trenches and chains of pits also show a concentric and radial alignment.

What could have caused this “inverted” crater that is almost a negative image of the typical EDM crater? The accepted impact theory of crater formation relies on gravity and mass, which have only one polarity: collisions cause erosion. But the Electric Universe has at its explanatory disposal two polarities: negative and positive. The negative—a cathode—causes erosion; but the positive—an anode—is a site of deposition.

Extensive research into the prehistoric human past has provided strong evidence that in antiquity an interplanetary electrical discharge struck not only Earth but Mars as well. Most likely, Mars’ north pole acted as a cathode and its south pole acted as an anode. The entire northern hemisphere was subjected to extensive EDM. leading one researcher to comment that the north “polar cap is the central peak of a hemispheric-sized crater.” The other hemisphere—and its pole—suffered electrical deposition. This accounts for the fine layering found in many locations. And it could account for the “inverted trenches” covering the surface of the “inverted crater” in this image.

Little laboratory research has been done on the effects of anode discharges (as distinguished from cathode discharges). None has been performed with dry ice—the primary constituent of Mars’ polar cap. It’s an open question: How does frozen carbon dioxide react to a positive high-voltage spark?


David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
Mel Acheson
  CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona, Ev Cochrane,
C.J. Ransom, Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman
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