In the broadest sense my NASA-funded planetary geology research is directed toward assessing and comparing the development of volcanic and tectonic features on Earth, Venus and Mars in order to understand how these complex geological surfaces formed and evolved. My studies, which integrate numerical modeling, GIS, satellite image analysis, and occasionally some fieldwork, are often conducted with quantitatively inclined undergraduates and/or in close collaboration with colleagues from other institutions. More specifically, as a physical volcanologist my goal is to improve our insight into the mechanics of shallow magma storage and migration in order to better understand the conditions associated with some of the largest eruptions (and intrusive events) that occur on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system.
Current (2016) research pursuits include:
- Unraveling the interplay between shallow magma reservoir failure and the formation of large volcanoes on Venus and elsewhere.
- Evaluating the mechanics of ring fault and caldera formation.
- Investigating the thermal evolution of magma bodies and their surroundings.
- Assessing the relationships between magma reservoir evolution and eruption volume.
- Contributing to construction of a global map of extensional lineaments on Venus in order to gain insight into giant radiating dike swarm formation.
- Exploring the pedagogy of computational science, a field which integrates computing, mathematics and science in order to explore interesting research-like questions in the classroom.