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Summer Explorer Series: Volcanism Across Planets

Mars investigations influenced by student field work on Northwest eruptions

We're putting together...

new ways to study Mars complete with laser guns - right here on Earth.

Kevin Cerna spent part of his summer crawling through lava tubes as part of a student research field trip. The master’s student and his lab mates investigated the environmental conditions surrounding past volcanic eruptions by studying crystal formation in the Pacific Northwest. The team, led by Assistant Professor Erika Rader, wants to use the tools and techniques implemented in the field to explore the geology of Mars – so it’s crucial to make sure everything works on Earth. Over the course of summer 2019, the team visited lava fields from areas including Lava Beds National Monument in California and Idaho’s Craters of the Moon and Hell’s Half Acre. Cerna, who is originally from El Salvador and lives in Santa Anna, California, is studying geology, and Rader teaches volcanology and geochemistry in the College of Science.

Article by Leigh Cooper, University Communications and Marketing.

This project was funded under NASA grant 80NSSC18K1518. The total funding from this grant is $290,028 of which 100% is the federal share.

Photos courtesy of Kevin Cerna and Erika Rader, College of Science.
Video production by Kara Billington.

Published July 2019.


Department of Earth and Spatial Sciences

Physical Address:
McClure 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3021
Moscow ID, 83843-3021

Geography: 208-885-6216
Geology: 208-885-6192