Institute of Geosciences , IGEO (UCM-CSIC)

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SMC participants

Associate Professor in the Department of Earth Physics and Astrophysics, Faculty of Physics, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and researcher at IGEO

Planetary geologist and astrobiologist at IGEO (CSIC-UCM). President of the Planetary Geology Commission of the Geological Society of Spain and of the Spanish Network of Planetology and Astrobiology

CSIC geologist and paleontologist at the Institute of Geosciences (CSIC-UCM)

Contents related to this centre

ESA's ExoMars and Mars Express missions have for the first time detected ice near the equator of Mars, specifically in the Tharsis volcanoes, an area of the planet where it was thought impossible to exist. According to the researchers, who publish the results in the journal Nature Geoscience, such findings are important for habitability and future human exploration. 


According to a report published yesterday in The New York Times, most of the members of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy had rejected the proposal to declare the beginning of the Anthropocene, thus showing their opposition to the idea that this is a new geological epoch. Other sources told El País that the result of the vote was not formally confirmed. If this proposal is defeated, the process could be restarted from scratch at a later date.


Fifteen years ago, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express probe revealed the presence of large deep deposits on Mars, in an area called the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF), located at its equator. Now, new data from the probe's MARSIS radar indicate that the deposits are deeper than previously thought - up to 3.7 kilometers thick - and include both ice-rich and dusty layers. The results are published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Crawford Lake

The Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy has  proposed Crawford Lake in Canada as a reference site for studying the Anthropocene as a possible geological epoch. This proposal for a Global boundary and Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) was presented today at the International Congress of Stratigraphy in Lille, France. It is a necessary, but not sufficient step for the Anthropocene to enter the International Chronostratigraphic Table, the worldwide reference for geological units. Once approved by the AWG, this proposal has to go through three more votes in international geological bodies. 


The term Anthropocene describes the profound changes on Earth due to human activities in the past decades. The concept comes from geology but has spread to other areas and has sparked controversy within science. In this article, we provide some keys to understand what the Anthropocene is, and why there has been debate in recent days surrounding its possible declaration.  


Based on a model, a study theorises that Mars may have been habitable for microorganisms 3.7 billion years ago, according to the journal Nature Astronomy.


As planned, the DART (Double Asteroid Redirect Test) mission has hit the asteroid Dimorphos, which orbits a larger asteroid, Didymos. Neither is a threat to Earth. This is the first planetary defence test mission designed to change the orbit of an asteroid, launched by NASA and the Johns Hopkins APL laboratory, with Spanish participation. Scientific teams will study with ground-based telescopes how much the orbit of Dimorphos will change around Didymos after the collision.

Ilustración del gran océano de Europa y su gélida corteza. / NASA/JPL-Caltech

A study based on observations of the Greenland ice sheet, published in Nature Communications, suggests that there may be shallow liquid water on Jupiter's moon Europa. The finding could provide insights into the geophysical processes that formed the moon.



Japan's IBUKI greenhouse gas observation satellites (GOSAT) have just announced the detection of a sharp annual increase in the average atmospheric methane concentration in 2021, the largest since 2011. European (ESA) and US (NASA) space agencies, as well as ground stations, have also detected spikes.