31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 47. Mars Surface: Spectra Posters
Poster Group II, Thursday-Friday, October 14, 1999, , Kursaal Center

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[47.04] Minero-petrographic studies of a possible Martian analogue environment: Specchio di Venere Lake, Pantelleria Island (Italy).

A. Baliva, L. Marinangeli, E. Piluso, G.G. Ori, V. Ruscito (International Research School for Planetary Sciences (IRSPS))

It's generally accepted that the development of life needs, at least, the presence of liquid water, sources of energy and biogenic elements. It seems that, on Mars, the above mentioned conditions were often present in the past, due to several reasons such as volcanic activity, greenhouse periods and impact cratering. In this scenario, it's probable that biological remnants (if there any) could have been localised in sedimentary rocks deposited in lacustrine (wet periods) or in sabkha (dry periods) conditions. In particular, hydrothermal environments widespread present on Mars surface, could have been suitable habitats for bacterial proliferation as it happens on Earth at present. For this reason we choose the environments of volcanic islands close to Sicily (Italy) that are rich in young hydrothermal activity. In Pantelleria Island there is a crater lake, Specchio di Venere, were diffuse and small hot springs bubble under the water. The development of life forms is strictly related to the presence of these gaseous veneers that provide the ideal microhabitat. We analysed the mineralogy of sediments coming from Specchio di Venere Lake and the results were in a good agreement with the mineral assemblages predicted for similar environments on Mars on the basis of previous studies.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: baliva@sci.unich.it

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