Understanding mars through the earthgeochemical characterization of submarine volcano scenarios to be used as martian analogues

Supervised by:
  1. Gorka Arana Momoitio Director
  2. Kepa Castro Ortiz de Pinedo Director

Defence university: Universidad del País Vasco - Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

Fecha de defensa: 23 October 2020

  1. Walter Goetz Chair
  2. Irantzu Martínez Arkarazo Secretary
  3. Jesús Martínez Frías Committee member
  1. Química Analítica

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 153429 DIALNET lock_openADDI editor


NASA and ESA will carry out their own planetary missions (Mars 2020 and ExoMars 2022 respectively) whose main objective is the demonstration of the potential habitability of the neighbouring planet. In this sense, all the findings that evidence the possibility of any life signature in the Martian history could be very interesting to fulfil this objective. With this purpose, the present PhD thesis is based in the geochemical characterization of different emplacements from the Basque-Cantabrian Basin, which are proposed as Martian analogues. All the studied locations are antique submarine volcano scenarios which have been subjected to different weathering processes since their eruption till nowadays. This characterization was done with spectroscopic techniques, among others Raman and visible near infrared spectroscopies, since they are on-board the mentioned missions. Therefore the use of these techniques in analogue emplacements could serve as a background for the Martian exploration. An example of one of the most common compounds found in these emplacements, are phyllosilicates. They play a very important role for the existence of life due to the necessity of water for their formation as well as sulfates and carbonates. Some of the found minerals in these emplacements have been already found on Mars but others, are not reported to be present in its surface yet and therefore their spectroscopic characterization will help in the interpretation of the upcoming results from the future missions. Moreover, some signals of organic molecules could also be identified in the analogue samples. Thanks to that, and due to the difficulty of the detection and interpretation of organic molecules, we have a spectroscopic background, and as in the case of the unknown minerals the understanding of the future data, would be easier.