The range of life habitats in volcanic terrains on mars

John Parnell*, Charles Cockell, Howell Edwards, Alex Ellery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The Martian surface is dominated by volcanic rocks, so the search for life on Mars should consider potential habitats in these rocks. Volcanic terrains present numerous possible habitats, including porosity in fractures and gas cavities, sites admitting light beneath translucent phenocrysts and a range of surface detritus. Photosynthetic activity may be more limited than on Earth due to sediment opacity, but volcanic systems provide sources of energy for chemolithotrophs, through high-temperature hydrothermal reactions and low-temperature weathering of ferromagnesian minerals. Both are likely processes on Mars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-84
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number545
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2004
EventProceedings of the III European Workshop on Exo-Astrobiology - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 18 Nov 200320 Nov 2003


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