Ancient Martian clays

Ancient clay minerals on the surface of Mars formed billions of years ago, when liquid water was more available. They provide a valuable record of the ancient Martian climate, as well as hydrothermal processes within the planet's crust.

The unique spectroscopic fingerprint of Martian clays holds key information about their crystal structure and chemical composition. We are investigating exactly how the infrared signature of clays varies with their mineralogy.

  • Iron and magnesium-rich clay minerals from the Mawrth Vallis valley on Mars.
    Clay minerals on Mars

    Clay minerals are microscopic silicate minerals containing molecular and structural water. Learn more about the formation and complexity of clays on Mars, and how we study them.

  •  	 Iron-rich talc from the seafloor of the East Pacific Rise.
    The Hydro-Mars project

    This research project focuses on iron and magnesium-rich clays formed in submarine hydrothermal sites on Earth, in order to better understand the nature of ancient clays on Mars.

Project staff

Dr Javier Cuadros
Economic and Environmental Earth Sciences Division
+44 (0)20 7942 5543

Dr Joe R Michalski
Mineral and Planetary Sciences Division
+44 (0)20 7942 5990

Supported by

The Hydro-Mars project is funded by the European Commission, as an Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship.