The course “Volcanism, Plate Tectonics, Hydrothermal Vents and Life” will take place from 10 October to 22 October 2023 on the Terceira campus of the University of the Azores in the picturesque city of Angra do Heroismo. Angra (as it is mostly called) is located on the island of Terceira, the second largest island of the Archipelago of the Azores. Arrival of participants will be on 10 October. The course aims to give students a thorough introduction in the formation of planetary systems, exoplanet detection and habitability. The summer school will include:

  • Lectures by leading scientists in the field covering a cornucopia of different subjects
  • Field excursions to geologically interesting sights (volcanic areas, hot springs, lava caves, etc.)
  • Exploration of lava caves
  • Characterisation of microbes in lava caves and hot springs via Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Poster sessions
  • Participant-led discussion



A PRELIMINARY schedule for the summer school can be found here.


Participants will perform sampling of microbial colonies in two extreme environments: Hot springs in Terceira and the lava caves. The samples will be analysed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in order to identify microbes present there using genom sequence databases.


Participants will have the possibility to visit the Furnas do Enxofre  hot springs in Terceira and the lava caves Algar do Carvão and Gruta do Natal. Furthermore, sampling of microbial probes will take place at the Furnas do Enxofre hot springs and two other lava caves. Excursions to other geologically interesting sites are planned. In addition, we plan a city walk in Angra and a farewell dinner at the rustic restaurant inside the open-air museum Quinta do Martelo.

Poster Sessions

The poster sessions will be held on Tuesday, 11 October 2023. They are aiming to allow participants to present their work, so even posters a bit remote from the course subjects are welcome. Poster board dimensions will be announced in due course.

Participants will be allowed a 4 minutes presentation for their posters (no discussion). The presentation will take place in the lecture room at Angra Campus. Powerpoint slides can be used. For a smooth run of these poster talks, presenters are asked to bring their talks on a memory stick or CD-ROM.

Reserve your spot today!