Earth Surface Processes Groups of the Schools of Earth and Space Exploration and Geography and Department of Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University

Kelin Whipple Arjun Heimsath Ramón Arrowsmith Mark Schmeeckle Enrique Vivoni

SESE Surface Processes seminar Spring 2012

The Earth Surface Processes Seminar (called "Geomorphology Seminar" in the GLG courses list) runs every term, for one unit credit (repeatable any number of times, and we prefer students do enroll) on a different theme each term. The theme for this term's focus is "Planetary Geomorphology". We will focus on the evolution of surface characteristics of the terrestrial planets and moons, placing particular emphasis on process.

To accommodate the interdisciplinary group interested in our Planetary Geomorphology theme, meetings will be held on either Thursday evenings, 7-9pm, at rotating home locations announced each week, or will take the place of the usual Planetary Seminar on Fridays, at 3pm in the Moeur Auditorium. A calendar of meeting days, topics, and papers will be posted weekly below. During our usual Thursday meetings, BEvERages and snacks/desert will normally be available and pot-luck contributions are always welcome. Although first time participants often chafe at the notion of an evening seminar off campus, experience has shown this is very conducive to a great, and enjoyable, learning experience for all that participate.

In a typical session we discuss a single research paper or two short ones. One or a pair of students have the charge to lead the discussion each session. Guiding a discussion, pointing out interesting angles to discuss and keeping the discussion on track are the main tasks. Usually this involves leading the group through the paper, but with an aim to highlighting discussion points rather than a report/summary of all points. Sometimes digging up essential background material from previous papers is essential to either understanding of the paper, or for drawing out key discussion points. Determining whether such ancillary material is needed is up to the student leaders. As always, input for specific topics/papers folks would like to cover are greatly appreciated!

We're looking forward to a vibrant set of discussions this semester and a strengthening of ties between the planetary and surface processes groups. Encouragement from Arjun and Ramón.

Date and locationDiscussion Leader(s)Reading/topic
Friday, January 20th; 3pm Moeur Auditorium Matt Rossi and Lauren Puglisi We've decided to postpone the topic of deltas until next week in lieu of a more broad topic that will hopefully spark some good discussion about different approaches to planetary surface process questions.
Perron, et al., Evidence for an ancient Martian ocean in the topography of deformed shorelines, Nature 2007
Thursday, January 26; at Kelin Whipple's house: 235 E Dawn Drive Tempe
Becky Smith and Scott Robinson

We'll be reading two papers this week focusing on the fan delta located within Eberswalde Crater (formerly Holden Northeast Crater):
Pondrelli, et al., Geological, geomorphological, facies and allostratigraphic maps of the Eberswalde fan delta, Planetary and Space Science, 2011
Jerolmack et al., A minimum time for the formation of Holden Northeast fan, Mars, GRL, 2004

Thursday, February 2nd; at Barrett Salisbury's house: 419 E Julie Dr. Tempe 85283
Barrett Salisbury

We'll be following up on last week's reading with a couple papers focused on formation time:
Armitage et al., Timescales of Alluvial fan development by precipitation on Mars, GRL, 2011
Hoke et al., Formation timescales of large Martian valley networks, EPSL, 2011

Friday, February 10th; 3pm Moeur Auditorium Andy Ryan and Marina Bravo Foster We decided in session last week that we wanted to compare a moon & a mars paper and that we wanted to look at a different process (rather than water) for formation of some of these landscape features: lava erosion. After reviewing a number of papers, we decided to extend this topic to take place over the next couple weeks and will be saving our lunar paper (Williams/Fagents/Greeley paper about the roles of thermal/mechanical erosion in the creation of sinuous rilles on the moon) for next week. To kick off our volcanic incision discussions, we'll be reading the following two papers for discussion this week:
The first paper attached - Leverington 2007 - looks at the Mangala Valles system and discusses possible volcanic evidence for its formation.
The second paper is by Jaeger et al., entitled "Emplacement of the youngest flood lava on Mars: A short, turbulent story" and discusses Athabasca Valles volcanism.
Thursday, February 16th; at Loyc Vanderkluysen's house:
910 North Bradley Drive Chandler, AZ 85226 (just south of Kelin's house)
Andy Darling and Drew Enns

Williams et al, 2000 (hot lava, erosion, and lunar rilles) and we will stick to just the one paper this week, however it is often good to hark back to earlier papers to make connections.

Friday, February 24th; 3pm Moeur Auditorium Allie Rutledge and Byron Adams

Note from Allie:
Colin Souness is presenting this paper next month at LPSC, and I thought the topic timely. The Hubbard paper characterizes GLFs (glacier-like features) on Mars, and the Souness paper surveys and analyzes the global population. Their group, a glaciology group in Wales, has collaborated with planetary scientists for this work - I thought it would be interesting for our seminar to examine their combined efforts.

There are a few older papers that lay the groundwork for these papers, but most of this work is based on more recent imagery (the GLFs are too small for in-depth study with lower-res images.) We will read and discuss Souness et al. (2012) and use the Hubbard et al. (2011) mainly for reference images.

Thurs-Friday, March 1-2 n/a

There will be no planetary geomorph seminar this week due to SESE grad recruitment activities.

Please let us know if you're interested in leading in a discussion of landsliding/debris flows next week, or if you'd like to discuss any specific papers--on this topic or otherwise.

Thursday, March 8; at Kelin Whipple's house: 235 E Dawn Drive Tempe
Mark Adams and Matt Jungers

This week's geomorphology seminar topic will be Mars Landslides (in V. Marineris). We will discuss the two short papers attached, below. There are many interesting background/related papers, especially on the topic of what composes the walls of V. Marineris. Hopefully the martians in the group will help fill in this background and provide the group leaders with a couple key images/figures. Next week we will probably follow up with ideas about salt tectonics (that is linked to these landslide papers, as you will see).
Schultz, R., Stability of rock slopes in Valles Marineris, Mars, GRL, 2002
Bigot-Cormier and Montgomery, Valles Marineris landslides: Evidence for a strength limit to Martian relief?, EPSL, 2007

Thursday, March 15th & 22nd n/a

Spring Break - no seminar.

Thursday, March 29th; at Phil Christensen's house, 2075 E. Ranch Rd, Tempe Scott Robinson and Drew Enns

We'll continue our discussion on mass wasting processes with two papers (Adams, 2009; DeBlasio, 2011), downloadable below, plus Quantin 04 for background - photos and topo sections. Adams_etal_hebes_chasma_salt_tectonics_geol.pdf

Thursday, April 5th ; at Phil Christensen's house, 2075 E. Ranch Rd, Tempe Erin DiMaggio, Alka, Kristen

We'll continue our discussion on salt tectonics and outwash channels with two Montgomery papers, downloadable below. Montgomery_etal_SaltTectonicsOutflowChannels_2009.pdf

Thursday, April 12th ;

Seminar cancelled

Friday, April 20th; 3pm Moeur Auditorium Andy Darling and TBA

A. Howard et al., An intense terminal epoch of widespread fluvial activity on early Mars: Valley network incision and associated deposits, JGR 2005

Link to tentative plans for upcoming weeks, an editable planning Google Doc: "Planetary Seminar" AND "Joint Planetary Geomorph Seminar" Schedule Plan
Email Marina at with questions, comments, suggestions!

Below are a few helpful links to websites, maps and other resources that apply to our theme this semester. Please peruse these materials at your convenience, and let me know if there are any others that should be added!

The latest NRC Decadal Survey outlines the goals for the next ten years of planetary exploration as decided on by the community. It's a dense document, but a few chapters in particular apply to Mars/Moon/outer moons surface processes: The "Science Goals" sections of Chapters 5 (terrestrial planets), 6 (Mars), and 8 (outer moons - i.e. Titan, Europa) would be most useful for our purposes. The "Determine the Evolution of Surface and Interior" section of Chapter 6 is most applicable to Mars surface processes. The Mars geologic timescale is defined in this section.

A "Mars Fact Sheet" I've found extremely useful to keep on hand while reading Martian papers

ASU's Red Planet page - a biweekly blog style summary of recent interesting finds on Mars. It summarizes one or more papers a week, links to the original journal article, and highlights various processes on Mars. It's written for the layperson, but is a great first look at some really interesting Mars results.

The Planetary Geomorphology Image of the Day (this month is glaciers!):
Past images are at:

GLG 591 Geomorphology Seminar Spring 2012 - Course #18293

Past seminars
Fall 2011 SESE Geomorphology Seminar
Spring 2011 SESE Geomorphology Seminar
Fall 2010 SESE Geomorphology Seminar
Spring 2010 SESE Geomorphology Seminar
Fall 2009 SESE Geomorphology Seminar
Spring 2009 SESE Geomorphology Seminar
Fall 2008 SESE Geomorphology Seminar
Spring 2008 SESE Geomorphology Seminar

Page last modified 17 Jan 2012 MHBF