Mars, the Moon, and Earth
Space exploration has revealed an astonishing array of surface features on the planets and their satellites. Why are atmospheres on the planets different from Earth's atmosphere? Do other planets represent our past or future environment? Is there life on other planets? The planets and their histories are compared to gain insight and a new perspective on planet Earth.
An examination of volcanism using observations of features and deposits on planetary bodies, comparing them to predictions from the theory of magma ascent and emplacement. Attention to the influence of different variables (e.g. gravity, composition, temperature, pressure, and atmospheric effects). The history of planetary volcanism, its relation to thermal evolution, and comparative planetary volcanology are also addressed. Prerequisites: GE 142 or equivalent; or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years.
Problems in Antarctic Dry Valley Geoscience
The Antarctic Dry Valleys represent an extreme hyperarid polar desert environment. Their geomorphology records the range of processes operating in these environments, preserving a record of climate change over millions of years. Major microenvironments are studied at the micro-, meso-, and macro-scale through literature review, field analyses, and research projects. Exobiological themes and climate change on Mars will be assessed. Written permission required.
The Hydrological Cycle on Mars
Evidence for the changing hydrological cycle on Mars, ranging from
what appears to be an early warm and wet Mars, through history to the
present very cold polar desert Antarctic-like environment will be
examined. The aim of the course will be to understand the modern and
ancient water cycles on Mars with the particular focus on how liquid
water has shaped the surface we see on Mars. Individual topics that
will be discussed include observations of the Mars fluvial record,
erosion/sedimentation, weathering, sediment production, and sediment
transport. We will also discuss connections with the cratering record
and landform evolution. The ultimate goal is to tie these
observations of the hydrological cycle with models for how the climate
has changed over time.