DIX Planetary Science Seminar

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Arms 155 (Robert P. Sharp Lecture Hall)
Effusive Volcanism on Earth and Mars
Joana Voigt, Graduate Student, Department of Planetary Science, University of Arizona,

Lava surfaces are expressions of the volcanic and magmatic evolution of planetary bodies and thus provide a window into the emplacement as well as interior dynamics. The morphologies of volcanic terrains contain information about the thermo-physical parameters of the lava itself as well as the pre-eruption environment and thus can be used as a key to reveal emplacement conditions. This information is particularly important for interpreting eruption conditions for ancient lava flow-fields on Earth and other planetary bodies where only a post-emplacement geologic record is available.

A region of outstanding interest is Elysium Planitia on Mars, since it is home to the youngest volcanic terrains on Mars with ages of only a few million years and exhibits the largest fluvial outflow channel carved in the late Amazonian epoch. By using a combination of geomorphological (CTX and HiRISE) and geophysical data (SHARAD and MOLA), as well as chronological constrained we are reconstructing the fluvial, volcanic, and magmatic evolution in Elysium Planitia and show that lava morphologies can be a valuable tool to reveal the pre-existing topography and emplacement dynamics.

Further, analog sites here on Earth provide the means of testing our tools, approaches, and interpretations used in planetary sciences. The 2014–2015 Holuhraun lava flow-field in the Icelandic highlands provides a unique martian analog site to investigate the controlling factors of lava morphologies. I will show how we can obtain a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between eruption dynamics of lava flow-fields and the final lava morphologies of effusive eruptions by using a combination of remote sensing techniques and instruments, uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS), as well as field observations.

For more information, please contact Maria Camarca by email at mcamarca@caltech.edu.