EGU22-587, updated on 26 Mar 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-587
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Spectroscopic and microscopic study of microbial mats in the Ojos del Salado area in Chile, a (possible) analogue environment for habitats on Early Mars 

Anouk Ehreiser1,2, Leander Schlarmann2,4, Erwin Strahsburger3, Adrien Tavernier3, Ayon Garcia3, Christopher Ulloa3, and Bernard Foing2,5,6
Anouk Ehreiser et al.
  • 1University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2ILEWG EuroMoonMars
  • 3Universidad de Atacama, Chile
  • 4University of Vienna, Austria
  • 5Free University of Amsterdam, VUA, Netherlands
  • 6Leiden University, Netherlands

As much is still unknown about the conditions for life on Early Mars, extreme environments on Earth that resemble Early Martian conditions are particularly useful for planetary scientists and astrobiologists to understand Early Mars environments. As biosignatures could be preserved in the Martian mineral record, Mars analogue environments on Earth also provide useful points of reference for measurements gathered by Mars rover missions.

One of the best Martian Analogue Environments on Earth is the dry high-altitude desert in the area of the Ojos del Salado volcano in Chile. The Ojos del Salado is the highest point of the Puna de Atacama plateau in the Andes, characterized by extremely dry periglacial conditions, high UV radiation levels, low oxygen pressure, strong winds and the presence of volcanic and hydrothermal activity. High altitude lakes in the area feature polyextremophile microbial ecosystems that are adapted to these unique conditions and which provide a valuable insight into ecosystems that might resemble life on Early Mars. We report research results from Raman spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy and optical microscopy, gathered in-situ during the joint interdisciplinary Universidad de Atacama/LICA UDA/EuroMoonMars field campaign to the Ojos del Salado area in February/March 2022.

How to cite: Ehreiser, A., Schlarmann, L., Strahsburger, E., Tavernier, A., Garcia, A., Ulloa, C., and Foing, B.: Spectroscopic and microscopic study of microbial mats in the Ojos del Salado area in Chile, a (possible) analogue environment for habitats on Early Mars , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-587, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-587, 2022.

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