One reason researchers have long believed that Mars never enjoyed an extensive period of warm and wet climate is that much of the surface not covered by wind-borne dust appear to be composed of unweathered material. If water flowed for an extended period, researchers reasoned, it should have altered and weathered the volcanic minerals, creating clays or other oxidized, hydrated phases (minerals that incorporate water molecules in their crystal structure) .
It turns out, though, that the scientists were not looking closely enough. New high-resolution mapping data and close-up surface studies have revealed clays and other hydrated minerals in many regions. The clay deposits are scattered all over, in ancient volcanic surfaces and heavily cratered highland regions, some of which have apparently been exposed by erosion only recently.
|According to the passage, scientists are able to discover weathered material on the Martian surface because they have benefited from which of the following?|
|Scientific consensus is that humans first began to have a warming effect on Earth`s climate within the past century, after coal-burning factories, power plants, and motor vehicles began releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in significant quantities into the air.However, evidence suggests that human agricultural activities may have had such an effect much earlier:concentrations of CO2 started rising about 8000 years ago, even though natural trends indicate they should have been dropping; methane levels rose similarly about 3,000 years later. Without these rises, however, current temperatures in northern parts of North America and Europe would be cooler by three to four degrees Celsius-enough to inhibit agriculture-and an ice age would probably have begun several thousand years ago in northeastern Canada.|
|Which of the following best describes the function of the highlighted sentence?|
|The author mentions "natural trends" most likely in order to|
|Archaeologists studying Bonito phase (ca. A.D. 900-1140) Native American ceramics from Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, observed that many pots had been altered after firing to revise their decorative designs--usually, intricate geometric patterns painted in black on white slipped surfaces. In some cases, a new design was imposed over an earlier one; less often, the original design was simply covered with white slip. Crown and Wills doubt that the alterations were made to correct design errors. Many Chaco pots with design errors were left unaltered. Furthermore, when errors were corrected, revisions were made prior to firing-either by painting directly over the error or by scraping off designs and applying new slip and paint, which is a less time-consuming method than repainting and refiring flawed pots.|
|The author of the passage mentions Crown and Wills primarily in order to|
|According to the passage, which of the following is true of Bonito phase Chaco pots?|
|Astronomers who study planet formation once believed that comets-because they remain mostly in the distant Oort cloud, where temperatures are close to absolute zero-must be pristine relics of the material that formed the outer planets. The conceptual shift away from seeing comets as pristine relics began in the 1970s, when laboratory simulations revealed there was sufficient ultraviolet radiation reaching comets to darken their surfaces and there were sufficient cosmic rays to alter chemical bonds or even molecular structure near the surface. Nevertheless, astronomers still believed that when a comet approached the Sun-where they could study it-the Sun`s intense heat would remove the corrupted surface layer, exposing the interior. About the same time, though, scientists realized comets might contain decaying radioactive isotopes that could have warmed cometary interiors to temperatures that caused the interiors to evolve.|