View Full Version : geology of Gale Crater and Mount Sharp

David Palmer
2014-Jul-30, 02:21 AM
I am an amateur scientist with a lifelong interest in Mars, and I recently finished my essay, "An Interpretation of the Geology of Gale Crater and Mount Sharp, with Implications for the History and Habitability of Mars," wherein I present a new hypothesis for the geology of the complex, and (re)introduce a lacustrine model (lake-bed sedimentation) for the strata comprising the Lower Formation of Mt. Sharp, which is something that has recently fallen out of favor (the aeolian or "SWEET" model is in vogue, but I find numerous faults with that model, and believe I have addressed all criticisms of the lacustrine model). The big test of my model will be when Curiosity reaches the base of Mt. Sharp, and my essay can be seen at:


2014-Jul-31, 09:41 AM
Quite an effort you put into that paper. Have you thought about or attempted peer review?

David Palmer
2014-Aug-10, 12:12 AM
Quite an effort you put into that paper. Have you thought about or attempted peer review?

Yes, I have. I sent my essay to my astronomer cousin, and she said she would look at it and get back to me, but never did. And I sent it to my old college geology teacher, and he said he would look at it and get back to me, but never did.
So I posted it in online forums such as www.unmammedspaceflight.com, and I got a lot of discussion going there (before they ultimately closed down the tread, on the grounds it was getting too heated), and one of their resident bloggers, Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society, chimed in, not to say anything directly about my hypotheses, but to criticise the way I presented them, on the grounds that my essay was not structured like a a conventional academic paper. But she didn't understand what I was trying to accomplish and how I was trying to accomplish it. I didn't set out to do a traditional academic paper, this is a hobby thing on my part, totally non-commercial, and I set it up to get my ideas across in a way that was comfortable for me. And my objective was to present my essay in online forums such as this one, not have it accepted for publication in an academic journal (the scope is way too vast for that anyway, and trying to do it in that style would put me in too much of a straightjacket....for example, the reader will probably notice that I don't have captions for images, I put those images right there in the text where I'm talking about them....and that is a deliberate break from the style of academic papers, because I have always found it incredibly irritating to have to go back and forth while reading, to look at the figures that are being referred to in the other end of the paper....and I had to endure a lot of that in researching for my essay....it took me over a year, reading hundreds of academic papers on Mars and Gale Crater!).


2014-Aug-10, 06:05 PM
I read the thread over on unmannedspaceflight.com (you spelled the website address incorrectly in your link above, by the way). I think you received some good feedback from Ms. Lakdawalla and others.

Anyway, thanks for posting your essay. Perhaps someday you might reconsider going the publication route. It would sharpen the nature of the criticism you receive, as well as provide ideas for taking your research further.

David Palmer
2014-Aug-13, 03:42 AM
Reply to geonuc:
Sorry about the misspelling, I DID know the correct spelling but was accidentally hitting the "m" key rather than the "n." I never was able to learn how to type correctly, and just "hunt and peck," and so I make a lot of errors if I don't check things carefully (so you can imagine how long it took me to type out my essay).
In any event, I feel it's a bit late to go the conventional "published" route (even if I felt comfortable with that and thought it was viable), given the fact that Curiosity will be in a position to test my hypotheses within several months (the first important test will be whether the lower strata of Mt. Sharp are lacustrine or aeolian). So I'm trying to publicize my essay in its current form as much as I can in the time that is left.