Richard Léveillé

Adjunct Professor

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
3450 University St.
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 0E8

Email: richard.leveille [at]




My current research is focused on Mars geochemistry and mineralogy and preparing for future astrobiology missions to Mars (and Europa) by performing investigations in analog environments here on Earth. In particular, I am interested in weathering of mafic rocks and alteration minerals on Mars as indicators of past environmental conditions and habitability. I am currently a NASA Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist, and I am part of the science team working with the Curiosity rover that has been on Mars since August, 2012.  I also work closely with the ChemCam team and I am currently developing techniques for improving LIBS analyses of geological materials, on Earth and Mars.

I am also interested in lava tubes as astrobiological targets on Mars.  I am the PI of a CSA-funded project entitled “ATiLT: Astrobiology Training in Lava Tubes”.  Lava tubes offer near-surface environments that are protected from harsh and variable surface conditions.  As such, they offer sites where microbial biosignature preservation may be enhanced in secondary minerals, sediments or even ice. This work involves collaborators at McGill, Carleton University, the SETI Institute and Kansas State University, and we will be performing multidisciplinary field work at Lava Beds National Monument, California.

Selected Publications

Maurice, S., S. M. Clegg, R. C. Wiens, O. Gasnault, W. Rapin, O. Forni, A. Cousin, V. Sautter, N. Mangold, L. Le Deit, M. Nachon, R. B. Anderson, N. L. Lanza, C. Fabre, V. Payré, J. Lasue, P.-Y. Meslin, R. J. Léveillé, and 30 others (2016).  ChemCam Activities and Discoveries during the Nominal Mission of Mars Science Laboratory in Gale crater, Mars.  J. of Analytical Atomic Spec. DOI: 10.1039/C5JA00417A.

Bridges, J.C., Schwenzer, S.P., Leveille, R., Westall, F., Wiens, R., Mangold, N., Bristow, T., Edwards, P. and Berger, G. (2015). Diagenesis and Clay Mineral Formation at Gale Crater, Mars.  J. Geophysical Research – Planets DOI: 10.1002/2014JE004757.

Lanza, N.L.,  Ollila, A.M., Cousin, A., Wiens, R., Clegg, S., Mangold, N., Bridges, N., Cooper, D., Schmidt, M., Berger, J., Arvidson, R., Melikchi, N., Newsom, H., Tokar, R., Hargrove, C., Mezzacappa, A., Jackson, R.S., Clark, B., Forni, O., Maurice, S., Nachon, M., Anderson, R.B., Blank, J., Deans, M., Delapp, D., Léveillé, R. (2015). Understanding the signature of rock coatings in laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy data. Icarus 249 doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.05.038.

Léveillé, R., Wiens, R.C, Anderson, R. B., Berger, G., Bridges, J., Clark, B., Cousin, A., Edgar, L., Fabre, C., Forni, O., Grotzinger, J., Kah, J., Lanza, N., Lasue, J., Le Mouélic, S., Leshin, L., Mangold, N., Maurice, S., McLennan, S., Meslin, P.-Y., Mezzacappa, Newsom, H., Ollila, A., Siebach, K., (2014) ChemCam investigation of resistant fracture-fill cements at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars.  J. Geophysical Research - Planets, DOI: 10.1002/2014JE004620, 2014. 

Siebach, K.L., Grotzinger, J.P.,Kah, L.C., Stack, K.M., Malin, M., Léveillé, R., and Sumner, D.Y.  (2014). Subaqueous Shrinkage Cracks in the Sheepbed Mudstone: Implications for Early Fluid Diagenesis, Gale Crater, Mars. J. Geophysical Research – Planets, DOI: 10.1002/2014JE004623.

Nachon, M., Clegg, S.M., Mangold, N., Schroder, S., Kah, L.C., Dromart, G., Johnson, J.R., Oehler, D.Z., Bridges, J.C., Le Mouélic, S., Forni, O., Wiens, R.C., Anderson, R.B., Blaney, D.L., Bell III, J.F., Clark, B., Cousin, A., Dyar, M.D., Ehlmann, B., Fabre, C., Gasnault, O., Grotzinger, J., Lasue, J., Lewin, E., Léveillé, R., et al. (2014) Calcium sulfate veins characterized by ChemCam/Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars. J. Geophysical Research – Planets, DOI: 10.1002/2013JE004588.

Skulinova, M., Lefebvre, C., Sobron, P., Zheng, W., Léveillé, R., Koujelev, A., Eshelman, E., Daly, M., Gravel, J.-F., Cormier, J.-F., Châteauneuf, F. (2014).  Time-resolved UV-Raman spectroscopy for planetary exploration.  Planetary and Space Science 92: 88-100.

Grotzinger, J.P., Sumner, D., Kah, L., Stack, K., Gupta, S., Edgar, L., Rubin, D., Lewis, K., Scheiber, J., Mangold, N., Milliken, R., Conrad, P., DesMarais, D., Farmer, J., Seibach, K., Calef, F., Hurowitz, J., McLennan, S., Mind, D., Vaniman, D., Crisp, J., Vasavada, A., Edgett, K., Malin, M., Blake, D., Gellert, R., Mahaffy, P., Wiens, R., Maurice, S., Grant, J., Purdy, S., Anderson, R., Beegle, L., Arvidson, R., Halle, B., Sletten, R., Rice, M., Bell, J., Griffes, J., Ehlmann, B., Bristow, T., Palucis, M., Dietrich, W., Dromarts, G., Eigenbrode, J., Fraeman, A., Hardgrove, C., Herkenhoff, K., Jandura, L., Kocurek, G., Lee, S., Leshin, L., Leveille, R., and 17 others. (2014). A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars. Science 343, DOI: 10.1126/science.1242777.

Meslin, P.-Y., Gasnault, O.,  Forni, O., Schröder, S.,  Clegg, S.,  Berger, G., Lasue, J.,  Cousin, A.,  Le Mouélic, S., Maurice, M., Mangold, N.,  Fabre, C., Wiens, R., Ehlmann, B., Lanza, N.,  Pinet, P., Anderson, R.,  Archer, D., Bish, D., Blake, D., Blaney, D., Bridges, N., Clark, B., Dromart, G.,  Dyar, M.D., Fisk, M., Goetz, W., Herkenhoff, K., Lacour, J.-L., Langevin, Y., Leshin, L., Léveillé, R., and 14 others. (2013). Soil diversity and hydration as observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars. Science 341, DOI: 10.1126/science.1238670.

Léveillé, R.J. and Datta, S. 2010. Lava tubes and basaltic caves as astrobiological targets on Earth and Mars: A review. Planetary and Space Science, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2009.06.004.


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