Theses and Dissertations


Allison Bohanon:

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Warden, Kelsey Crane

Committee Member

Gabitov, Rinat I.

Committee Member

Paul, Varun G.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Microbial life on Mars is not visible from orbit or by rover cameras, but the fracture networks and scarp morphologies associated with fractures they could live in are measurable. We conducted a field analogue study of 92 normal fault scarps in the Sheepshead Mountains, Oregon to examine the correlation between scarp morphology and vegetation growth in the Steens Basalt. While vegetation is not expected on Mars, the fracture networks that sustain vegetation offer the same micro-environment that would support and protect endoliths. Structural variables were measured in the field and infrared spectra of fault scarps were measured using a handheld multispectral camera and vegetation indices were calculated from these images. Statistical analysis of the scarp morphologic parameters indicate that interconnectedness of fractures is key for elevated vegetation and is represented by a range of parameters. Results support a model for ideal slopes to investigate for preserved biological activity on Mars.

Included in

Geology Commons