James W. Head
(from the university site)
James Head studies themes of planetary evolution and the role of volcanism and tectonism in the formation and evolution of planetary crusts. Several research projects are underway to determine the nature of what appears to be the catastrophic resurfacing of Venus some 300-500 Ma ago. In collaboration with Marc Parmentier, Paul Hess, and several students, he has been investigating the possibility that the apparently global catastrophic event may have been related to the loss of a vertically accreting depleted mantle layer.
On the web/news bureau, etc.
Themes of planetary evolution and the role of volcanism and tectonism in the formation and evolution of planetary crusts. Several research projects are underway to determine the nature of what appears to be the catastrophic resurfacing of Venus some 300-500 Ma ago. In collaboration with Marc Parmentier, Paul Hess, and several students, Head has been investigating the possibility that the apparently global catastrophic event may have been related to the loss of a vertically accreting depleted mantle layer. Interest in the formation and evolution of volcanic centers and edifices, the formation and evolution of magma reservoirs, and the interaction of growing volcanoes with the surrounding substrate through loading and instability development. Mission Involvement: A member of the Galileo Solid State Imaging Team, examining images from the two Earth-Moon encounters and the two asteroid encounters. Participating scientist activities on the Russian Mars 96 and Mars 98 missions include being a co-investigator on the German camera. The phenomenally successful Magellan mission successfully mapped over 95% of the surface of Venus and acquired high-resolution gravity data before terminating in the Fall of 1994. Involvement with the Mars Surveyor Mission includes participation in the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter experiment, which will acquire a global topographic map of Mars which will be extremely useful in the study of geological processes and internal structure of the planet.
Honors and Awards
Geological Sciences 5
Mars, Moon and the Earth
Geological Sciences 286
Geological Sciences 291/292, sec. 06
Problems in Antarctic Dry Valley Geoscience
GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES AT BROWN UNIVERSITY
JAMES W. HEAD, III
Lincoln Field Building, Room 104
Research in progress relates both to 1) understanding the fundamental physical aspects of geological processes operating on the planets and satellites and, 2) the application of this knowledge to deconvolving the complex signal of the history of the planet contained in the geological record. Also addressed is the comparison of processes and histories of each planet, including the Earth (for example, what were the important factors governing the first two billion years of planetary history?). Recently, specific emphasis has been placed on the following areas:
1) Volcanism and the Earth's seafloor as a planetary environment:
Theoretical modeling of the ascent and eruption of magma in the high-pressure deep seafloor environment (equivalent to that of Venus) and understanding the transition to shallower submarine and subaerial volcanism; analysis of basic theory and comparison to images and topographic data obtained on oceanic cruises and deep submersible dives. Fieldwork includes deep-sea submersible dives (Alvin, Pieces) and ROV explanation.
2) Interpretation of the tectonics of Venus and implications for Earth:
Documentation of the geological history of Venus and its tectonic and volcanic processes, assessment of possible catastrophic and episodic volcanic and tectonic activity, and analysis of implications for the formation of continents on Earth and the processes that might have initiated plate tectonics on our own planet.
3) Crustal formation and evolution on one-plate planets:
How do crusts form and evolve? Analysis of secondary and tertiary crust on Mars, Venus and the Earth's Moon and assessment of implications for Mercury and early Earth.
4) Volcanism and tectonics on outer planet satellites:
Analysis of the characteristics and history of the Galilean satellites, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto with emphasis on volcanic and tectonic processes and comparative geological and thermal histories of these satellites. Application of this knowledge to other outer planet satellites.
5) Geological evolution of Mars:
What are the major factors in the geological evolution of Mars, and how does Mars differ from the other terrestrial planetary bodies? What role does volcanism play in the resurfacing of the planet and in crustal formation and evolution? How does volcanism create shallow crustal situations (e.g., dike emplacement, heating, melting of ground ice) that might be conducive to the production of environments favorable to life? Where might these sites be located on Mars? How do volcanic processes interact with subsurface water, the cryosphere, and surface glacial and volatile-rich deposits?
The History of Water on Mars: What is the nature of the martian hydrological cycle and how has it changed with time? What is the evidence for the presence of large standing bodies of water in the history of Mars and what was the fate of any such water? What is the nature of the cryosphere and how has it changed with time? What is the history of the water table? How is the history of water linked to environments conducive to life?
Climate Change on Earth and Mars : What is the recent and ancient history of the polar caps? Is there evidence for glaciation? How do these compare with examination of terrestrial glacial environments in Iceland and to the Antarctic Dry Valleys? What is the evidence for migration and deposition of ice on Mars and how does the record of the Antarctic Dry Valleys inform us of this? What is the significance of tropical mountain glaciers on Mars and how do they relate to recent ice ages there?
Ph.D. Brown University (1969), Geological Sciences
B.S. Washington & Lee University (1964), Geology
James William Head, III
Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor
Department of Geological Sciences
Brown University, Box 1846
Providence, RI 02912
I enjoy the exploration of outer space and the study of the Earth in the context of the Solar System, the exploration of inner space, teaching, and research.
Teaching activities include Mars, Moon, and the Earth (GEO 5), an introductory course for non-concentrators, and Planetary Evolution: The Moon, a graduate level course.
Research interests continue to be linked to themes of planetary evolution and the role of volcanism and tectonism in the formation and evolution of planetary crusts. Several research projects are underway to determine the nature of what appears to be the catastrophic resurfacing of Venus some 300-500 Ma ago. In collaboration with Marc Parmentier, Paul Hess, and several students, we have been investigating the possibility that the apparently global catastrophic event may have been related to the loss of a vertically accreting depleted mantle layer. This may have involved massive deformation of the surface, formation of some continental-like highlands, and large-scale volcanic flooding, all elements observed to varying degrees in the Magellan data.
A major interest is in the formation and evolution of volcanic centers and edifices, the formation and evolution of magma reservoirs, and the interaction of growing volcanoes with the surrounding substrate through loading and instability development. We have been examining terrestrial analogs to constrain planetary volcanic processes and we have been focusing on Kilauea, Hawaii, and related eruptions. Recent work includes the assessment of dike emplacement in the East Rift Zone, the analysis of the eruption of Kilauea Iki, the emplacement of dikes in the walls of the Kilauea caldera, and the link to understanding planetary volcanic processes. I continue to work with Lionel Wilson (Visiting Professor, University of Lancaster, England) to develop theoretical predictions on the ascent and eruption of magma, and the way in which eruption styles differ, and to compare these to the nature of observed volcanic surface deposits on the Earth and planets. We have been working on treatments of the Earth, Moon, Venus, and an overview of theoretical predictions and observations for Mars was recently published in Reviews of Geophysics.
Tectonic features such as linear rilles and graben are being analyzed to assess the role of volcanism and plutonism in their production, and to distinguish these processes from other tectonic processes producing similar features. We are looking at the formation of surface deformation through dike emplacement and how to use this to determine regional and global stress fields on the planets. Analysis of the possibility of subduction on Venus includes assessment of the fate of underthrust slabs and other instabilities in the crust and depleted mantle layer. We are also analyzing the tectonics of the icy satellites of the outer planets, with particular emphasis on the breakup of the dark terrain on Ganymede and the emplacement and deformation of the light terrain.
Dr. Alexander "Sasha" Basilevsky, the director of the Laboratory for Comparative Planetology of the Vernadsky Institute in Moscow, has continued to visit Brown and pursue his research mapping the areas surrounding the very successful Venera landers that descended to the surface of Venus several years ago. In addition, we have been mapping the stratigraphy of over thirty sites on Venus and combining these into a global stratigraphic correlation chart which is providing interesting information on the recent sequence of events in the apparently catastrophic history of Venus.
Recent publications summarize progress on this research.
The 38th Brown/Vernadsky Microsymposium will tale place in Moscow, in October 2003. We have seen much change since the 18th Microsymposium in 1993, when we experienced a major curfew, roadblocks, and saw a still-smoldering White House. In addition to the great excitement and all the stories that everyone has to tell, a lot of great scientific interaction will take place. Microsymposium 37, "Mars: Formation and evolution of the Late Amazonian latitude-dependent ice-rich mantling layer," was held in conjunction with the 34th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas in March 2003.
Exploration of outer space includes involvement with several space exploration missions. As a member of the Galileo Solid State Imaging Team, we have been examining images from the two Earth-Moon encounters and the two asteroid encounters. Images from the Galileo encounter with the 11 x 18 km diameter asteroid Gaspra have shown in detail for the first time the cratered and grooved surface of an asteroidal body similar to ones thought to be the sources of many meteorites. Excellent images were also returned from the Galileo encounter of a second asteroid, Ida. These small bodies are important building blocks of planets and they are representative of the population of bodies that make craters on planetary surfaces. An exciting event was the discovery of a small moon, named Dactyl, about a km in diameter, orbiting the asteroid Ida! The Galileo spacecraft continues toward a rendezvous with Jupiter in 1995 and we are in the final stages of planning the sequences for image data acquisition and coordinating these with other instruments. At Brown we are specifically responsible for the development of the sequences for Ganymede.
Participating scientist activities on the Russian Mars 96 and Mars 98 missions include being a co-investigator on the German camera. We are currently working on several activities concerning target selection and coordination with other experiments.
The phenomenally successful Magellan mission successfully mapped over 95% of the surface of Venus and acquired high-resolution gravity data before terminating in the Fall of 1994. We have been active in all phases of this mission and are now engaged in the analysis of data.
Involvement with the Mars Surveyor Mission includes participation in the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter experiment, which will acquire a global topographic map of Mars which will be extremely useful in the study of geological processes and the internal structure of the planet.
(see publication list for more complete listing)
Basilevsky, A. T. and J. W. Head III. Venus: Timing and rates of geologic activity
Geology November 2002, v. 30, no. 11, p. 1015-1018.
Hiesinger, H., and J. W. Head. Topography and morphology of the Argyre Basin,Mars:implications for its geologic and hydrologic history,
Planetary and Space Sci. 50 (2002) 939-981.
Head, J., et al. Evidence for Europa-like tectonic resurfacing styles on Ganymede
Geophys. Res. Lett., 29 (24), 2151, doi:10.1029/2002GL015961, 2002.
Head, J. W., M. A. Kreslavsky and S. Pratt. Northern lowlands of Mars: Evidence for widespread volcanic flooding and tectonic deformation in the Hesperian Period,
J. Geophys. Res., 107(E1), 10.1029/2000JE001445, 2002.
Wilson, L and J. W. Head III. Deep Submarine Pyroclastic Eruptions: Theory and Predicted Landforms and Deposits,
J. Volcanology and Geothermal Res. 121 (2003) pp 155-193.
I enjoy the exploration of outer space and the study of the Earth in the context of the Solar System, the exploration of inner space, teaching, and research. I enjoy taking courses at Brown, mostly in psychology, biology, political science, social psychology, and semiotics, and at the Rhode Island School of Design in art, drawing, baking, and cooking. Exploration of inner space includes a fascination with animal behavior and the relation of different time and space scales to concepts that humans describe as genetics, cultural identity, national identity, religious identity, personality, and behavior. Most recently, I have been reading about animal culture. I am also interested in the psychological and physiological aspects of human perception, and its roots in general animal behavior.
I collect Soviet and other international space memorabilia, and beer bottles. The explosive development of microbreweries has, regrettably, caused me to seriously question whether I will ever achieve a life-long goal of tasting one of every type of beer brewed in the inner solar system, but the quest goes on. I like to run, travel, read, and listen to music (Spin Doctors, Vivaldi, k.d. lang, U2, Bach, Chrissie Hynde, Henry Rollins, Mozart, and Stone Temple Pilots). Recent reading includes:
The Mosby Myth: A Confederate Hero in Life and Legend Paul Ashdown and Edward Caudill.
Impossible Extinction: Natural Catastrophes and the Supremacy of the Microbial World Charles S. Cockell
Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and Our Common Origins Steve Olsen.
Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook, Martin Dugard.
The Company I kept; The Autobiography of a Geologist, John Rodgers, Transactions Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 58, 224 p., 2001.
The Civil War, Kenneth C. Davis.
Njal's Saga, Translated from Icelandic by M. Magnusson and H. Palsson.
Australia: The New New World, Granta.
Perils of a Restless Planet, Ernest Zebrowski
Roads to Space: An Oral History of the Soviet Space Program
History of Iceland From the Settlement to the Present Day, Jon R. Hjalmarsson
Thinking Styles, Robert J. Sternberg
Mosby's War Reminiscences, John S. Mosby
The Mediterranean Was A Desert - A Voyage of the Glomar Challenger, Kenneth J. Hsu
The Case For Mars - The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must, Robert Zubrin
A Short History of Ireland, Richard Killeen
In Search of Nature, Edward O. Wilson
The Meaning of It All - Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist, Richard P. Feynman
Questioning The Millennium, Stephen Jay Gould
Flight: My Life in Mission Control, Chris Craft.
Washington and Lee University, B.S., 1964
Brown University, Ph.D., 1969
Bellcomm, Inc., Washington, DC (1968-1972) (Worked at NASA Headquarters
and participated in the Apollo Lunar Exploration Program activities of
landing site selection, astronaut field and science training, surface
geologic traverse planning, mission operations, and data analysis).
Interim Director, Lunar Science Institute, Houston, TX (1973-1974)
Brown University, Assistant Professor (Research) (January 1973 - July 1974)
Brown University, Associate Professor (Research) (July 1974 - July 1975)
Brown University, Associate Professor (July 1975 - 1980)
Brown University, Professor (1980 - present)
Member: Office of the President-Elect Transition Team - National Aeronautics and Space Administration, November 1980-December 1981.
Director: NASA-Brown University Regional Planetary Data Center, 1979-1984.
Vice-Chairman: Universities Space Research Association Council of Institutions, 1979. Council is composed of representatives of 52 member institutions.
Chairman: Council of Institutions, Universities Space Research Association, 1980.
Member: Board of Trustees, University Space Research Association, 1980-1981.
Member: Committee on Earth Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, Space Science Board, 1979-1982.
Member: Space Science Working Group Steering Committee, Association of American Universities, Washington, DC., 1982-1985.
President: Commission on Comparative Planetology, International Union of Geological Sciences, 1984-1992.
Chairman: Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America, 1987-1988.
American Geophysical Union Lecture, 1992 National Association of Science Teachers Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, March 28 1992.
Member: Smithsonian Council of the Smithsonian Institution, 1987-1994.
Associate Editor: The Earth, Moon and Planets , 1974-present.
Member: Editorial Advisory Board, Planetary and Space Science, Pergamon Press Ltd., 1992-present.
Member: National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Planetary Geology Proposal Review Panel, 1979-1982.
Chairman: National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Planetary Geology Proposal Review Panel, 1982-1983.
Member: Science Working Group on Inner Planet Missions - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar System Exploration Committee, 1981-1982.
Member: National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Space and Earth Science Advisory Committee, 1982-1985.
Member: Solar System Exploration Management Council, 1984-1985.
Chairman: Solar System Exploration Management Council, 1985-1988.
Chairman: Visiting Science Committee, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 1986-1987.
Member: NASA Advisory Council Task Force on International Relations in Space, 1986-1988.
Member: National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Delegation to Interagency Consultative Group (NASA, Japanese Space Agency, European Space Agency, Soviet Union-Interkosmos) 1983-1986.
Member: US Delegation to the US/USSR/Russian Joint Working Group on Solar System Exploration.
Earth and Planetary Exploration Missions:
Viking Guest Scientist: Summer, 1976; participated in the NASA Viking Mission to Mars.
NASA Project Galileo: Imaging Team Member, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1977-present. Mission to Jupiter and its satellites.
Experiment Co-investigator: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Shuttle Imaging Radar-B Mission, 1984-1987.
Member: NASA Venus Magellan Mission, Synthetic Aperture Radar Team, 1979-1994.
Member: Magellan Mission Project Science Group - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1983-1994.
Guest Investigator: Venera 15/16 mission, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow, USSR, 1985.
Member: Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Team, 1987-present.
Interdisciplinary Scientist: Soviet Phobos Mission, 1986-1990.
Principal Investigator: MINMAP Imaging Spectrometer, Lunar Scout II mission, 1992-1993.
Interdisciplinary Scientist: Russian Mars 96-98 Missions
Awards and Honors
Washington and Lee University, Honorary degree, Doctor of Science, 1995
NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, for work with flight crew of Apollo 15 on the scientific objectives of the Hadley-Apennine landing site, 1971.
NASA Public Service Medal for contributions to the Magellan Mission to Venus, 1992.
Geological Society of America Special Commendation for geologic training of astronauts assigned to the United States lunar exploration program, 1973.
CASE (Council for Advancement & Support of Education) Professor of the Year for Rhode Island, 1990.
Honorary Member: Alpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, Washington & Lee University, VA, January, 1990.
Geological Society of America G.K. Gilbert Award, 2002 Group Achievement Awards:
NASA Award to the Shuttle Imaging Radar-B Science Team, 1990.
NASA Award for Galileo Orbiter Instrument Design, Development, and Test, 1991.
NASA Award for the Magellan Science Group, 1992.
NASA Award for the Galileo Gaspra Encounter Team, 1993 Superior Performance Award: Galileo Solid State Imaging Team, 1995.
NASA Award for the Project Galileo Team, 1996.
Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Team, 2000.
Membership in Professional Organizations
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow, 1993.
American Astronomical Society
American Geophysical Union, Fellow, 1997
European Geophysical Society
European Union of Geosciences
Geological Society of America, Fellow, 1995
International Academy of Astronautics
Meteoritical Society, Fellow, 1994