The geology of Australian Mars analogue sites

Michael D. West*, Jonathan D A Clarke, Matilda Thomas, Colin F. Pain, Malcolm R. Walter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Australia has numerous landforms and features, some unique, that provide a useful reference for interpreting the results of spacecraft orbiting Mars and exploring the martian surface. Examples of desert landforms, impact structures, relief inversion, long-term landscape evolution and hydrothermal systems that are relevant to Mars are outlined and the relevant literature reviewed. The Mars analogue value of Australia's acid lakes, hypersaline embayments and mound spring complexes is highlighted along with the Pilbara region, where the oldest convincing evidence of life guides exploration for early life on Mars. The distinctive characteristics of the Arkaroola Mars Analogue Region are also assessed and opportunities for future work in Australia are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-458
Number of pages12
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid lakes
  • Arkaroola
  • Australia
  • Deserts
  • Mars analogues
  • Pilbara
  • Relief inversion
  • Springs
  • Stromatolites


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