University of Maryland Geology Colloquium Series
Friday, February 28th 2020 at 3:10 pm
in PLS 1140
NASA Goddard Sace Flight Center
Exploring volcanoes in Central Iceland as Analogs for Planetary Environments
Volcanoes are found on all planetary bodies larger than Ceres. Understanding how they erupted enables us to understand the geologic past of a planet and its current distribution of materials at or near the surface. My team has investigated two neighboring volcanoes, Holuhraun and Askja, in central Iceland to survey eruption deposits that are similar to deposits we observe on Mars and the Moon. The 2014-5 Holuhraun eruption produced the most recent flood lava on Earth and its largest source vent is actively degrading. We have monitored this degradation since 2015 to characterize how different volcanic materials and landscapes change over time. Askja deposited blankets of tephra over snowfall in 1875 and 1961. We have surveyed the remaining ice deposits with ground penetrating radar to improve our ability to identify buried ice during future missions to planetary surfaces.