Date of Award
Master of Science
Once similarities between Earth and other terrestrial bodies were discovered, determining the conditions that contributed to the evolution of surface processes on these planets, particularly Mars, is of great interest. More importantly, such research and exploration can provide proof of previous existent life within these near-surface environments. As the past environmental conditions at Mars’ surface are mostly unknown, studies of comparable environments on Earth have been crucial toward deciphering the overall geological understanding of Mars. As the discovery of past conditions on Mars become more absolute, researchers can search for more constrained bio-signatures of life that may have been present. Using the geological similarities between Earth and Mars, analogues can be used to compare the conditions on Mars and Earth and how they evolved over time, further providing more precise understanding of our own environment as it relates to the future. In this study, acid mine drainage (AMD) systems, which are one of the most acidic environments on Earth, were compared to the surface of Mars as a potential analogue to the past conditions of the planet when such acid-impacted environments were widespread at the surface of the planet.
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