The presence of iron oxide in several different forms indicates that something not taking place on any large scale today did take place at some time in the past. Most Mars research groups speculate that there was once a dense, oxygen-rich atmosphere that allowed for the “rusting” of iron in its crust to take place. Whatever the source, Mars has hematite dunes a kilometer high, giant trenches that go on for hundreds of kilometers with their bottoms covered in hematite ripples, and seas of hematite dust tens of meters deep swallowing craters a hundred kilometers in diameter.
It is unusual that dark hematite is so intimately bound up with white silicon-dioxide rock. Could there be a connection between silica and hematite on Mars? Could electric arcs transmute elements: reforming the atomic structure of silicon (with 28 particles in its nucleus) into that of iron (with 56)? Perhaps that connection could also explain the Moqui marbles with their iron oxide and silicon dioxide composition.
Others suggest that there were oceans of open water on the surface that helped to form the hematite nodules covering nearly a whole hemisphere (perhaps more). Whatever the source, Mars has hematite dunes a kilometer high, giant cracks that go on for hundreds of kilometers with their bottoms covered in hematite ripples, and seas of hematite dust tens of meters deep swallowing craters a hundred kilometers in diameter.
Elemental transmutation through the z-pinch effect is not considered in conventional theories, so there are few avenues of experimentation left open. Precipitation and chemical recombination appear to be the main arguments put forward by Mars research scientists, so their theories about its evolution are often inconsistent. Relying upon hypotheses that ignore electromagnetic forces will always produce erroneous conclusions.
It is unusual that dark hematite is so intimately bound up with white silicon-dioxide rock. Could there be a connection between silica and hematite on Mars? Could the same electric arcs that are thought to have carved the Red Planet transmute elements: reforming the atomic structure of silicon (with 28 particles in its nucleus) into that of iron (with 56)?
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Mars soil and rocks - Calcium/Silicon versus Iron/Silicon
The compositions of SNC meteorites, as well as Viking soils and Mars Pathfinder soils, have higher iron/silicon ratios than terrestrial rocks.
Calcium/Silicon versus Iron/Silicon - APXS Composition Results | NASA
Mars Soil Composition
APXS analyses of Martian soils are compared with Viking soil analyses. Each element is normalized to silicon in this diagram. The yellow boxes representing Viking data include all analyses and their analytical uncertainties ... and a few significant differences from Viking analyses. Specifically, soils at the Pathfinder site generally have higher aluminum and magnesium, and lower iron, chlorine, and sulfur. Scooby Doo, which appears to be a sedimentary rock composed primarily of compacted soil, also exhibits a few chemical differences form the surrounding soils.
Martian Soil Composition - APXS Composition Results | NASA
Martain soils and rock - Sodium/Silicon versus Iron/Silicon
Shown here are the analyses of Yogi (A-7) and Barnacle Bill (A-3) on a plot of Na/Si vs. Fe/Mn. Na/Si is not a good indicator of different planetary bodies (and the APXS analyses of Na have a large error), but the Fe/Mn ratio is a diagnostic feature that separates Martian rocks from all other rocks. As can be seen, Yogi and Barnacle Bill are quite Martian.
Sodium/Silicon versus Iron/Silicon - APXS Composition Results | NASA
An early in situ experiment to discover biota in Martian samples found an anomalous oxidation process that was attributed to peroxides in or on the soil. It still isn’t clear to this author whether this was due to vagaries of the analyzing instrument, an isolated non-reproducible incident, or solar-induced oxide enhancement of the Martian soil. It is, of course, well-known that ultraviolet radiation can dissociate otherwise well-behaved molecules into higher energy states to form such peroxide molecules.
I opt in favor of this for at least two reasons: Peroxide reactions, especially in the presence of activating ultraviolet light, would favor the conversion of hematite or the hydrated limonite into magnetite. Secondly, magnetite might be reduced in the presence of peroxide to maghemite, which itself can exist in a magnetic or nonmagnetic (hematite) state. This is because, as is well-known to almost every bench analyst who’s dirtied his or her hands as a wet-chemist, under certain conditions peroxides can act as either oxidizing or reducing agents. The exotic conditions on Mars certainly qualify for an unusual laboratory environment on a planetary scale.
Such peroxides on Mars would most probably come from the dissociation of the CO2 or sparse water vapor in the atmosphere. Moreover, the disturbance of the windstorms, abetted by the otherwise anomalous peroxide reduction of hematite to the ferrous state (FeO), perhaps might also—if accompanied by water from the poles—convert mineral iron compounds to the nonmagnetic greenish ferrous hydroxide or even to the darker ferric hydroxide, geothite.
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