The "Cliff" Reimaged: New Discoveries
Written By: Mac Tonnies
The feature known as the "Cliff" has been photographed in
visible-wavelength light by the Mars Odyssey’s THEMIS camera.
This is our first look at the Cliff in its entirety since the
Viking mission took its low-resolution scan of Cydonia in the
1970s; the previous high-resolution image taken by the Mars
Global Surveyor featured a black swath indicating lost data (as
described on a previous page).
The Cliff in context.
Though the new Cliff image is not as detailed as the MGS
version, it provides more context. The nearby "splash" crater
and its ejecta apron are plainly seen, confirming the Cliff’s
conspicuous placement: if the Cliff has existed prior to the
impact, it should show obvious signs of damage. Since the Cliff
appears unscathed, proponents of the Artificiality Hypothesis
argue that it was assembled after the impact. This
interpretation is supported by a network of shallow grooves
extending from the eastern edge of the Cliff to the lip of the
crater. These may be remnants of a quarry/construction site
utilizing ejecta rubble for the Cliff’s tapered base.
The new image casts doubt on the so-called "Tetrahedral Rim
Pyramid." The Rim Pyramid, identified by Richard Hoagland and
subsequently incorporated into his highly mathematical "Message
of Cydonia," appears less-than-tetrahedral and more like a
natural deviation in the crater lip. Regardless, lines extending
from the center of the Tholus and through the Cliff and Rim
Pyramid produce an angle of 19.5 degrees, a recurring motif in
the Cydonia complex. Given the heavily weathered nature of some
of the Mound features, perhaps the Rim Pyramid’s amorphic
condition should come as no surprise. Close-up images may tell
Fort-like platform near Cliff. Image courtesy Bob Harrison.
Meanwhile, Bob Harrison of Cydonia Quest has brought my
attention to a shallow, faceted formation north of the Cliff
that shares a startling resemblance to the Fort. Partially
buried rectilinear "cells" adorn at least one of the formation’s
edge. This prompts the question: if natural, shouldn’t the
"cells" have eroded away long ago? Like the Fort, the "Cliff
Platform" exhibits signs of eroding from the inside-out. An
alternative to this unlikely scenario is that the Cliff Platform
has collapsed inward, leaving small-scale peripheral detail
Synthetic perspective imagery of the Fort reveals a sunken
interior consistent with a structural implosion (a collapse of
the sort thought to have deformed the eastern "chin" of the
"Face"). The Cliff Platform may be an additional example of this
phenomenon, implying unimaginable antiquity.