Geological Sciences 287: The Geological Evolution of Mars

Academic Year 1998-1999, Semester II
N Hour (3:00-5:20 PM Wednesdays, and other arranged times)
Lincoln Field 209


Topic I. Can a one-plume convection model account for the observed tectonic history of Tharsis?

Class 1 (January 27th): Introduction and discussion of problems.

Class 2 (February 3rd): Overview of Tharsis stress and tectonics:

Class 3 (February 10th): Styles and history of Tharsis tectonics. Class 4 (February 19th): One-plume convection models for Tharsis.

Topic II. What is the age of the polar caps and have they they changed significantly with time?

Class 5 (February 26th): Overview of North and South polar caps and related deposits.

Class 6 (March 3rd): Ages of the polar caps and the origin(s) of their related features.
Class 7 (March 10th): Role of the polar caps in the volatile budget of Mars.

Topic III. Were there ever large-scale standing bodies of water on Mars (lakes, seas, oceans)?

Class 8 (March 24th): Overview of hypotheses for large-scale standing bodies of water.

Class 9 (April 7th): Sources of water and constraints from chronology.
Class 10 (April 14th): Evolution of standing bodies of water under martian conditions.

Topic IV. Where should we land on Mars to address the questions raised above and the possible presence of life?

Class 11: (April 28th): In this class, we will use the established programmatic guidelines and engineering constraints for landing site selection as a basis to consider locations of sites for optimal scientific return. Each student will prepare an LPSC-type abstract describing their recommendations for a landing site, and a sample collection strategy for a sample return mission. In the class, each student will present their results to a review panel consisting of faculty and other knowledgable individuals from Brown and JPL.

Class 12 (May 5th): LPSC-like presentations of term papers.

Expectation of class participants are as follows:

Course grade: Course grades will be based on class presentations (2 per semester) (25%), class participation (25%), site selection abstract and presentation (20%), and preparation of a GRL-like paper describing original research on a scientific problem (30%). Paper topics are due March 26th in the form of a one-page proposal, and papers are due April 30th.

Readings and related material will be located in a box in Lincoln Field 105.

Textbooks: H. H. Kieffer et al., eds., Mars , Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson, 493-522, 1992.

Carr, M., Water on Mars, Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 229 pp., 1995.