November 17, 2015 - November 18, 2015

Habitats and inhabitants on the early Earth and Mars



on leave from University of Auckland, Geology Programme, School of Environment, Aukland, New Zealand - in residence at Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire (CBM), UPR 4301 (Molecular Biophysics Center, CNRS) Orleans, France.

  • Dr Frances WESTALL
    Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire (CBM), UPR 4301 (Molecular Biophysics Center, CNRS) Orleans, France.


Poster presenters need to submit an abstract of no more than 2000 characters (including spaces)

by 15/10/2015. The abstracts (electronic format only –pdf files) will be published in digital proceedings (USB flash-drive).

If you are interested in giving a poster, thank you for sending the title of your abstract and your text of abstract together with your affiliation and contact details to as soon as possible.


Geology and geochemistry provide the boundary conditions for our understanding of life on Earth. Central to this understanding are rock-water-carbon interactions between carbon and the environment. This colloquium is being held to create an international think-tank to examine the origin(s) of life and evolution of early life, and specifically the influence and importance of hydrothermal activity on rock-water-carbon reactions. Understanding of the geological/ geochemical context for the origin of life and for early life on Earth will help concentrate and support efforts to find life elsewhere in the Solar System and even beyond. These activities are timely given the upcoming European/Russian mission to Mars, Exomars 2018, whose objective is to search for traces of past life. Immediately following this mission is the first step in the multi-mission scenario for the return of samples coordinated by NASA for 2020. 


17 NOVEMBER 2015

09h00    Registration/Welcome coffee
09h15    Introduction and meeting objectives
Dr Frances Westall
09h30     Dr Alan Schwartz
The implausibility of simple prebiotic chemistry
10h30     Dr André Brack
Promoting random prebiotic chemistry on the rocks
11h30     Louis d’Hendecourt
Why cosmic ices may be useful for prebiotic chemistry
12h30     Lunch
13h30     Terry Kee
En Route to Convergent Abiogenic Processes : Learning from Biology; Leaning on Geology
14h30     Christian Mustin
Organics and the surfaces of minerals
15h30     Nick Arndt
The Geodynamic Context in which Life Emerged and Evolved 
16h30     Frances Westall
The origin of life and hydrothermal sediments
17h30     General discussion on the origin of life and hydrothermal systems

18 November

09h00     Pat Browne
Active geothermal systems as natural laboratories
10h00     Fabrice Gaillard
Volcanic degassing and its influence of environmental conditions for the origin of life
11h00     Kathy Campbell
Microbial Fossils and Sedimentary Facies in Terrestrial Hot Spring Deposits: Relevance for Early Life in the Archean  
12h00     Pascale Gautret
In situ analyses of carbonaceous matter in ancient rocks 
13h00     Lunch
14h00     Frédéric Foucher
Techniques used in studying carbonaceous phases (abiogenic or biogenic) in ancient rocks
15h00     Guido Diego
Controls on Terrestrial Hot Spring Distributions 
16h00     General discussion, preparations for writing position paper

Practical informations

Dates of the conference:  17-18 November 2015

Location: Hôtel Dupanloup, Centre International Universitaire pour la Recherche – 1, rue Dupanloup, 45000 Orléans – France

Language: English

List of Hotels in Orléans

List of restaurants in Orléans


Habitats and inhabitants on the early Earth and Mars + L’origine de la vie sur Terre et dans l’Univers

Partners of the event