top of page
Columbia Hills_panorama_crop_edited.jpg

LifeSprings MARS

Modern hot spring fields, such as those of Rotorua, New Zealand, may seem like an inhospitable environment for life, but they actually contain an abundance of microbial life. Microbes aid in the growth of digitate, "finger-like", structures on silica sinter deposits, as they induce silica precipitation. The shape of the digitate structures is influenced by the interaction of microbes with geology and environmental conditions. We study modern hot springs to better understand ancient hot springs where life on Earth - and perhaps on Mars - may have formed.

A CT scan of an opaline silica sinter nodule with fine-scale internal laminations defining a microstromatolite, from Mars Pool, Rotorua, New Zealand.
A CT scan of an opaline silica sinter nodule with digitate branching structures, or microstromatolites from El Tatio, Chile. Note the fine-scale internal laminations and the boundary between a lower package of laminae and upper package of laminae.
bottom of page