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Dust devil near the Onyx River, Antarctica. Image Credit: Warren Dickinson

Jan 14, 2008

Mars or Earth the Devils are Electrified

Martian dust devils exhibit startling electrical properties. Electric whirlwinds have also been identified on Earth.

As long ago as March 2005, Electric Universe advocates wrote about the surprising discovery of dust devils spinning across the Martian deserts. The Spirit Rover returned several images of large, glowing funnels raking across the flatlands, leaving darkened trackways behind.

Since the atmospheric density on Mars is so low (less that one percent that of Earth), the question arose of how a strong “wind” can carve the soil and leave multiple tracks that can be seen from space? We might also ask how the global dust storms are energized by such a rarified vapor of frigid carbon dioxide gas?

The conventional theory of dust devil formation on Earth describes a vortex of warm air that begins as a horizontal “rotator” near the ground. As the spinning air gains momentum, it “stands up” vertically, forming a cylindrical cloud of dust that twists its way over the surface, gathering more debris as it goes. As it increases in strength, it tightens its diameter like an ice skater drawing in her arms. As it contracts, the dust storm spins faster and faster.

However, on Mars there is no vortex of spinning air to move into a vertical orientation and form the dust devil. Yet, there are funnels that climb thousands of meters into the sky on Mars and engulf nearly a whole hemisphere with their burden of sand and other small particles during certain parts of the year. A better explanation for dust devil formation on Earth as well as Mars could very well be electricity.

Recent announcements by atmospheric scientists have claimed that “saltation” is generating the electric fields that they found years ago in the dust devils of Arizona. “Saltation” means the intermittent, leaping movement of particles of sand or gravel, as from the force of wind or running water. In other words, the sand particles are believed to be generating electrical charges close to 10,000 volts per meter by rubbing against each other.

In several previous Picture of the Day articles, we have pointed out that it is not necessary to postulate strictly mechanical activity for the electric charges that have been found in dust devils. To get the electric field, conventional researchers believe, there has to be “charge separation” that requires collisions of sand and soil particles. It is those collisions, they say, that causes the larger particles to become positively charged and the smaller ones to become negatively charged. The wind then disperses them into regions of sorted sizes, creating an electric field.

In the Electric Universe theory, no collisions from bouncing sand grains are necessary. Charge separation already exists in the atmosphere. Without clouds like those on Earth to send lightning down to ground level, the electric discharges on Mars form giant whirlwinds that are part of an interplanetary electrical circuit. It is that same circuit that drives weather systems on Earth. If this is true, then Martian “dust devils” and those on Earth are both illustrations of how electricity behaves in the solar system.

By Stephen Smith

Please visit our new "Thunderblog" page

Through the initiative of managing editor Dave Smith, we’ve begun the launch of a new
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new discoveries and the explanatory power of the Electric Universe."

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The Electric Sky and The Electric Universe available now!


Authors David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduce the reader to an age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events in ancient times. If their hypothesis is correct, it could not fail to alter many paths of scientific investigation.

More info

Professor of engineering Donald Scott systematically unravels the myths of the "Big Bang" cosmology, and he does so without resorting to black holes, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, magnetic "reconnection", or any other fictions needed to prop up a failed theory.

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In language designed for scientists and non-scientists alike, authors Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott show that even the greatest surprises of the space age are predictable patterns in an electric universe.

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

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