Eric Petersen

Postdoctoral Research Associate II

Eric Petersen

Postdoctoral Research Associate II

Research: Eric is currently focused on using remote sensing and geophysical data to learn more about debris-covered glaciers on Mars and Earth. Debris-covered glaciers (many of which are often referred to as “ice-cored rock glaciers”) are of broad interest as a potential paleoclimate record as well as a fresh water source.

Eric is synthesizing orbital radar sounding data from the SHARAD instrument with Digital Terrain Models produced from HiRISE stereo imaging data to characterize the surface debris layer of Martian glaciers. This will help us to understand the preservation of glaciers in Mars’ mid-latitudes as well as constrain the feasibility of water ice recovery by future astronauts. In this capacity he is also a radar scientist on the Mars Subsurface Water Ice Mapping (SWIM) Project, a collaborative effort to comprehensively map evidence for shallow water ice in the mid latitudes of Mars as a data product for future mapped missions to Mars.

Eric has also been active in surface geophysical work on terrestrial debris-covered glaciers, utilizing multiple techniques to image internal structure and quantify surface morphology. The goal of this work is to constrain ice/debris accumulation history to learn about what climate information debris-covered glaciers record, and how that might be inferred from surface morphology.

 

mars_debris_covered_glacier

Debris-covered glacier in Deuteronilus Mensae, Mars. Image rendered from Stereo HiRISE-produced digital terrain model and ortho-image.

 

sourdough_rock_glacier

Sourdough Rock Glacier, Alaska. Photograph taken by Eric Petersen from Jack Holt’s Cessna 170.

 

Field Experience: A total of six field seasons employing Ground-Penetrating Radar, Transient Electromagnetic, LiDAR Scanning, and Photogrammetry to characterize the surface morphology and internal structure of rock glaciers in Alaska, Wyoming, and Utah. Completion of a number of field-oriented graduate courses including Marine Geophysics, Hydrogeophysics, and Aeolian Stratigraphy.