Near Markha River North Pole Siberia, the earth ripples in ways that scientists do not fully understand.
Earlier this week, NASA researchers published a series of satellite images of strange wrinkled landscapes on NASA. Earth Observatory website. Images captured by the Landsat 8 satellite over a period of several years show the Earth on both sides of the Markha River alternating with dark and light streaks. The puzzling effect appears in all four seasons, but is most pronounced in winter, when snow-white makes the contrasting pattern more apparent.
Why is this particular section of Siberia so striped? Scientists aren’t completely sure, and many experts have offered conflicting explanations for NASA.
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One possible explanation is written on the icy ground. This region of the Central Siberian Plateau spends about 90% of the year covered with permafrost, according to NASA, although it thaws occasionally for short periods. Scientists reported in a study published in January 2003 in the journal that patches of earth that are constantly freezing, thawing, and freezing again have been known to take on strange circular or striped designs called Grain Earths. Science. The effect occurs when soil and stones sort themselves naturally during the freeze-thaw cycle.
However, there are other examples of carved land – eg Stone circles From Svalbard, Norway – tends to be much smaller than the lines seen in Siberia.
Another possible explanation is erosion. Thomas Crawford, a geologist with the United States Geological Survey, told NASA that the lines resemble a pattern in sedimentary rocks known as cake layer geology.
These patterns occur when ice melts or rain falls down slopes, splitting and cutting sedimentary rocks into piles. The process could reveal slabs of sediment that look like slices of a layer of cake, Crawford said, with darker streaks representing steeper areas while lighter streaks denote flatter areas.
According to the image above, this type of sedimentary layer is more prominent in winter, when the white snow falls on flat areas, making them appear lighter. Crawford added that the pattern fades as it approaches the river, as sediments coalesce into more uniform mounds along the banks after millions of years of erosion.
That explanation appears to be a good fit, according to NASA. But until the area can be studied closely, it will still be one of those interesting things in Siberia.
Originally published on Live Science.