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Erika Rader Colloquium Abstract (Feb 6, 2019)

Volcanic Spatter Across the Solar System: How Idaho + Lava Bombs = Water on Mars

We have been looking for evidence of ancient water on Mars for decades hoping to find places where life may have flourished on the red planet. Volcanic rocks, such as those at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, consist of lava flows, cinder cones, and sometimes spatter bombs.  Spatter bombs can form when lava interacts with water, causing an explosion and sending blobs into the air. If we can learn how those blobs are preserved in the rock record, we can look for them on Mars and trace out ancient water sources. We have created the first synthetic lava bombs using real molten rock to study the deposits at Craters of the Moon, ID and can compare our rocks to images of Mars.