Olympus Mons is the largest volcano on Mars.  It is the size of the state Arizona (United States) - 113,998 square miles. The surface area on Mars is 14,645,750 square miles.

Scientists study volcanoes on earth to compare volcanoes on Mars. They learn about the different conditions for life after the floods they create in Iceland, and examine the soils, gases, and lava around the Hawaii, New Zealand and Greek volcanos. They search for answers to the questions:
Could there have been life on Mars? what is preserved in Martian lava?
The soil near volcanoes on earth is similar to the soil near volcanoes on Mars - in color and composition.
and think there could have been conditions on Mars that are similar to those on Earth.
Volcano Soils & Life on Earth
Soils & Life on Mars
Research Articles

Iceland Volcano Similar to Martian Volcano Floods -- life on Mars could be similar in past
Subglacial hydrothermal alteration minerals in Jökulhlaup deposits of Southern Iceland, with implications for detecting  past or present habitable environments on Mars. Read More..

Hawaii, New Zealand, Greek volcanoes lava and soil environments similar to Mars, studied for possibility of life existing on Mars in past
Alteration processes in volcanic soils and identification of exobiologically important weathering products on Mars using  remote sensing.  Read More..

Bright Soils and colorful dust of Mars similar to Hawaii volcano soil
Pigmenting agents in Martian soils: inferences from spectral, Mossbauer, and magnetic properties of nanophase and other  iron oxides in Hawaiian palagonitic soil PN-9.   Read More..

Volcano lava on Mars could have evidence of life on Mars - Hawaiin volcano lava used as an example of plants growing after old lava flows being found in newer lava flows
Raman spectroscopy of volcanic lavas and inclusions of relevance to astrobiological exploration.   Read More..

Recent and Episodic volcanic and glacial activity on Mars revealed by the High Resolution Stereo Camera
Volcanic activity on Mars over millions of years

Volcanic Activity Shaped Mercury After All
Volcanoes effect on Mercury

Early life on earth life, conditions needed for life.
Possible role of volcanic ash-gas clouds in the Earth's prebiotic chemistry.  Read More..


Iceland Volcano Similar to Martian Volcano Floods - life on Mars could be similar in past

Subglacial hydrothermal alteration minerals in Jökulhlaup deposits of Southern Iceland, with implications for detecting  past or present habitable environments on Mars.
[Astrobiology. 2010 Jun;10(5):523-47]
Warner NH, Farmer JD.
Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, UK. 

Jökulhlaups are terrestrial catastrophic outfloods, often triggered by subglacial volcanic eruptions. Similar volcano-ice  interactions were likely important on Mars where magma/lava may have interacted with the planet's cryosphere to produce  catastrophic floods. As a potential analogue to sediments deposited during martian floods, the Holocene sandurs of Iceland  are dominated by basaltic clasts derived from the subglacial environment and deposited during jökulhlaups. Palagonite tuffs  and breccias, present within the deposits, represent the primary alteration lithology. The surface abundance of palagonite  on the sandurs is 1-20%. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis of palagonite breccias confirms a mineral assemblage of zeolites,  smectites, low-quartz, and kaolinite. Oriented powder X-ray diffractograms (< 2 microm fraction) for palagonite breccia  clasts and coatings reveal randomly ordered smectite, mixed layer smectite/illite, zeolites, and quartz. Visible light-near  infrared (VNIR) and shortwave infrared (SWIR) lab spectroscopic data of the same palagonite samples show H2O/OH(-)  absorptions associated with clays and zeolites. SWIR spectra derived from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and  Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) images of the sandurs reveal Al-OH(-) and Si-OH(-) absorption features. The identified  alteration mineral assemblage is consistent with low temperature (100-140 degrees C) hydrothermal alteration of basaltic  material within the subglacial environment. These results suggest that potential martian analog sites that contain a  similar suite of hydrated minerals may be indicative of past hydrothermal activity and locations where past habitable  environments for microbial life may be found.


Hawaii, New Zealand, Greek volcanoes lava and soil environments similar to Mars, studied for possibility of life existing on Mars in past
Hawaii - lava from the Haleakala summit basin on Maui
New Zealand - the Tarawera volcanic complex on the northern island of New Zealand
Greece - the Greek Santorini island group


Alteration processes in volcanic soils and identification of exobiologically important weathering products on Mars using  remote sensing.  [J Geophys Res. 1998 Dec 25;103(E13):31457-76]
Bishop JL, Froschl H, Mancinelli RL.
Collaborators (1)Mancinelli RL.
NRC/NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, USA.

Determining the mineralogy of the Martian surface material provides information about the past and present environments on  Mars which are an integral aspect of whether or not Mars was suitable for the origin of life. Mineral identification on  Mars will most likely be achieved through visible-infrared remote sensing in combination with other analyses on landed  missions. Therefore, understanding the visible and infrared spectral properties of terrestrial samples formed via processes  similar to those thought to have occurred on Mars is essential to this effort and will facilitate site selection for future  exobiology missions to Mars. Visible to infrared reflectance spectra are presented here for the fine-grained fractions of  altered tephra/lava from the Haleakala summit basin on Maui, the Tarawera volcanic complex on the northern island of New  Zealand, and the Greek Santorini island group. These samples exhibit a range of chemical and mineralogical compositions,  where the primary minerals typically include plagioclase, pyroxene, hematite, and magnetite. The kind and abundance of  weathering products varied substantially for these three sites due, in part, to the climate and weathering environment. The  moist environments at Santorini and Tarawera are more consistent with postulated past environments on Mars, while the dry  climate at the top of Haleakala is more consistent with the current Martian environment. Weathering of these tephra is  evaluated by assessing changes in the leachable and immobile elements, and through detection of phyllosilicates and iron  oxide/oxyhydroxide minerals. Identifying regions on Mars where phyllosilicates and many kinds of iron oxides/oxyhydroxides  are present would imply the presence of water during alteration of the surface material. Tephra samples altered in the  vicinity of cinder cones and steam vents contain higher abundances of phyllosilicates, iron oxides, and sulfates and may be  interesting sites for exobiology.


Bright Soils and colorful dust of Mars similar to Hawaii volcano soil

Pigmenting agents in Martian soils: inferences from spectral, Mossbauer, and magnetic properties of nanophase and other  iron oxides in Hawaiian palagonitic soil PN-9.
[Geochim Cosmochim Acta. 1993 Oct;57(19):4597-609]
Morris RV, Golden DC, Bell JF 3rd, Lauer HV Jr, Adams JB.
Planetary Science Branch, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, USA.

We have examined a Hawaiian palagonitic tephra sample (PN-9) that has spectroscopic similarities to Martian bright regions using a number of analytical techniques, including Mossbauer and reflectance spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, instrumental  neutron activation analysis, electron probe microanalysis, transmission electron microscopy, and dithionite-citrate- bicarbonate extraction. Chemically, PN-9 has a Hawaiitic composition with alkali (and presumably silica) loss resulting  from leaching by meteoric water during palagonitization; no Ce anomaly is present in the REE pattern. Mineralogically, our  results show that nanophase ferric oxide (np-Ox) particles (either nanophase hematite (np-Hm) or a mixture of ferrihydrite  and np-Hm) are responsible for the distinctive ferric doublet and visible-wavelength ferric absorption edge observed in  Mossbauer and reflectivity spectra, respectively, for this and other spectrally similar palagonitic samples. The np-Ox  particles appear to be imbedded in a hydrated aluminosilicate matrix material; no evidence was found for phyllosilicates.  Other iron-bearing phases observed are titanomagnetite, which accounts for the magnetic nature of the sample; olivine;  pyroxene; and glass. By analogy, np-Ox is likely the primary pigmenting agent of the bright soils and dust of Mars.


Volcano lava on Mars could have evidence of life on Mars - Hawaiin volcano lava used as an example of plants growing after old lava flows being found in newer lava flows

Raman spectroscopy of volcanic lavas and inclusions of relevance to astrobiological exploration.
Jorge-Villar SE, Edwards HG
.  [Philos Transact A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2010 Jul 13;368(1922):3127-35]

Area Geodinamica Interna, Facultad de Humanidades y Educacion, Universidad de Burgos, Calle Villadiego s/n, 09001 Burgos,  Spain.

Volcanic eruptions and lava flows comprise one of the most highly stressed terrestrial environments for the survival of  biological organisms; the destruction of botanical and biological colonies by molten lava, pyroclastic flows, lahars,  poisonous gas emissions and the deposition of highly toxic materials from fumaroles is the normal expectation from such  events. However, the role of lichens and cyanobacteria in the earlier colonization of volcanic lava outcrops has now been  recognized. In this paper, we build upon earlier Raman spectroscopic studies on extremophilic colonies in old lava flows to  assess the potential of finding evidence of biological colonization in more recent lava deposits that would inform, first,  the new colonization of these rocks and also provide evidence for the relict presence of biological colonies that existed  before the volcanism occurred and were engulfed by the lava. In this research, samples were collected from a recent  expedition to the active volcano at Kilauea, Hawaii, which comprises very recent lava flows, active fumaroles and volcanic  rocks that had broken through to the ocean and had engulfed a coral reef. The Raman spectra indicated that biological and  geobiological signatures could be identified in the presence of geological matrices, which is encouraging for the planned  exploration of Mars, where it is believed that there is evidence of an active volcanism that perhaps could have preserved  traces of biological activity that once existed on the planet's surface, especially in sites near the old Martian oceans.

Early life on earth life, conditions needed for life.

Possible role of volcanic ash-gas clouds in the Earth's prebiotic chemistry.
[Orig Life Evol Biosph. 1996 Apr;26(2):173-94.]
Basiuk VA, Navarro-Gonzalez R.
Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, D.F.

Volcanic ash-gas clouds represent versatile local atmospheric environments appropriate for abiotic synthesis of rather complex organic molecules due to the simultaneous presence of various gaseous reagents, catalytically active inorganic particles, electric discharges, pressure and temperature gradients. They are relatively readily attainable for the scientists, contrary to objects or events of space origin (interstellar and planetary dust, meteoritic/cometary impacts, etc.), providing excellent opportunities for in situ studies and grounded simulating experiments. This paper reviews the available data on this environment, its most important chemical and physical parameters. Based on this analysis, it is suggested in brief experimental conditions for the simulation.



Volcanoes and Lava on earth helps scientists hypotheize on life on Mars
VolcanoExperience.com
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/mars_20050207.html
Olympus Mons, volcano on Mars
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Olympus Mons, volcano on Mars
Volcanoes on Mars
VOLCANO FACTS   

ICELAND - Eyjafjallajokull
airplanes in Europe
gas plumes travels

    It is located on the southern part of Iceland.  It has erupted twice throughout this year and has caused many air traffic problems.  
. Read more ...


Hawaii - Kilauea
indoor air quality,
breathing silica ash particles
bronchitis, emphysema, asthma

    Kilauea is located on the southeast part of Hawaii Island, Hawaii.  In the Hawaii religion they believe that the goddess of volcanoes, Pele, lives on this volcano.. Read more ...


COSTA RICA - Arenal, Geotourism
  On almost a daily basis, red-hot rocks crash down its steep slopes and volcanic grumbles produce huge ash columns above the crater. Read more ...


New Zealand - Ruapehu
crops, livestock, vegetation

   It is the highest point in the North Island and includes three major peaks: Tahurangi (2,797 m), TeHeuheu (2,755 m) and Paretetaitonga (2,751 m). . Read more ...


ITALY - Mount Etna
Volcano Mercury - Soil, Water

  It is the largest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3,329 metres (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m (69 ft) lower now than it was in 1981. Read more ...


Guatemala - Pacaya
Lava, Boulders,
buildings, transportation, communication, power outages

  After being dormant for a century, it erupted violently in 1965 and has been erupting continuously since then.
                   Read more ...


Italy - Mount Vesuvius
Ancient Volcanoes

    Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
                         Read more...

Indonesia - Krakatoa
Krakatoa, also known as Krakatow, is another still-dangerous volcanic island, located in Indonesia in the Sunda Strait.
                     
Read more...


Underwater Hydrothermal Volcanoes
Bacteria from Volcanoes
Bacteria that live near underwater can metabolize Iron, Sulfur and Methane.
               Read more...



Mars
Olympus Mons is the largest volcano on Mars.  Scientists study volcanoes on earth to compare to volcanoes on Mars.
                   Read more...
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