The Dendritic Ridges of
Recent European Space Agency
images of the escarpment of Olympus Mons reveal branching
ridge patterns that continue to baffle planetary scientists.
But the “Lichtenberg” form of these ridges points directly
to an electrical interpretation.
In a previous Picture of the Day, we noted the presence of
hundreds of fascinating and bizarre formations called
“spiders” at the south pole of Mars. We also noted that
since the discovery of these formations a few years ago —
and despite the best efforts of planetary scientists -— they
have evaded scientific explanation.
We did, however, draw attention to an electrical formation
called a "Lichtenberg figure." In 1777, the German scientist
Christoph Lichtenberg discovered that dust settling on a
cake of non-conducting resin, when subjected to an electric
spark, recorded star-like patterns. Later, other
experimentalists found that these Lichtenberg Figures could
be recorded directly on film as a two dimensional photograph
of discharge streamers. The positive and negative surfaces
in a discharge produce quite different patterns.
We noted the striking similarity in form of the Martian
spiders to a Lichtenberg figure. These same forms are found
“novae” and "arachnoids" on Venus -- overlying "spidery"
formations stretching around the planet's equator.
Large-scale formations of this kind, if they are to be
explained electrically, require something that is not
permitted under standard theoretical assumptions --
electrical arcing on a cosmic scale in an earlier, unstable
phase of solar system history.
Lichtenberg figures take the observed radial forms of the
Martian spiders. In many instances, (as illustrated
the "trunk" of the tree-like, “dendritic” form points in the
direction of the main current flow.
When planetary scientists consider the role of electricity
in solar system history, Lichtenberg figures will become an
important diagnostic tool. An electric arc can produce
dendritic branching patterns of fused or raised material.
Such dendritic ridges are common on Mars and the Earth. But
theories of their formation are weak.
The image above shows a small portion of the western flank
of Olympus Mons, which planetary scientists call “the
biggest volcano in the solar system.” In previous Pictures
of the Day, we have suggested that Olympus Mons is in fact
an anode blister (electric discharge blister on a positively
charged surface) from a stupendous cosmic lightning bolt.
From an electrical vantage point, the dendritic ridge
patterns seen in such finely cut relief -- and present far
beyond the region shown – illustrate the power of the
electric force to achieve what cannot be achieved by
standard geology. (See larger picture
Commenting on these ridges of Olympus Mons, the European
Space Agency website notes that the escarpment shown rises
over 7000 meters above the surrounding surface level.
“To the north and west of the volcano, these 'aureole'
deposits are regions of gigantic ridges and blocks extending
some 1000 kilometres from the summit like petals of a
flower. The origin of the deposits has challenged planetary
scientists for an explanation for decades…”
But all that ESA can offer as an explanation is “landslide”
and/or glacial causes. That these well-defined branching
patterns could be caused by such influences seems out of the
question. So in conventional terms, the dendritic ridges of
Olympus Mons remain a profound mystery. If, however, in the
grip of the electric force, Olympus Mons was raised to
heights that dwarf Mount Everest, Lichtenberg formations on
the flanks of the immense “lightning blister” would be no
It seems that ground currents flowing to or from the
discharge that formed Olympus Mons caused heating and
metamorphosis of subsoil into rock, which then resisted
erosion by accompanying electrical forces tending to remove
surface material. The result is that the Lichtenberg ridges
are exposed like an etching.
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