Research

Our research group uses remote sensing techniques and laboratory spectroscopy to investigate planetary surface processes. Presently our research activities can be divided into three broad themes: 1) spacecraft data analysis, presently with a focus on Mars, 2) laboratory spectroscopy and remote/field studies of planetary analog surfaces on Earth, and 3) environmental remote sensing.

Characterizing Planetary Surfaces Using Spacecraft Data

Example topics of interest for Mars include:

  • The early climate history of Mars
  • Regolith development and evolution
  • Mechanisms and relative roles of resurfacing processes on early Mars
  • Crustal stratigraphy and evolution
  • The role of giant impact basins on igneous evolution and hydrothermal activity in the crust
  • Landing site characterizations

    Laboratory Spectroscopy and Mars Analog Studies

    To enhance interpretation of remotely acquired spectra from planetary surfaces, we are characterizing the spectral properties of rocks and minerals of interest in the laboratory and conducting combined satellite-based/field-based studies of planetary volcanic analog terrains. Most of the projects described below focus on understanding how alteration or structural transitions affect the measured spectral characteristics of relevant planetary analog samples:

  • Formation, stability and spectral properties of amorphous salts
  • Basalt/glass alteration processes (acid weathering, hydrothermal)
  • Field-based spectroscopic measurements in planetary analog terrains
  • Development of quantitative methods for interpreting mineralogy from spectral measurements

    Environmental Remote Sensing

    Topics of interest include:

  • Submarine groundwater discharge flux measurements using remote sensing techniques
  • Characterization of mineral aerosol flux and spatial heterogeneity
  • Dust emissions from desert surfaces

    Example (right):We are using aerial thermal imaging to locate potential regions of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) into Long Island's near-shore environments. SGD brings nitrates and other nutrients into harbor waters, which feeds harmful algal blooms and disrupts natural ecosystems. In the image to the right, warm plumes represent groundwater discharging into cooler harbor waters. Aided by this imagery, Stony Brook collaborators and graduate students can better target locations to sample the chemistry and flux of groundwater discharge.

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