Nicole Bardabelias

MS student - Geosciences

Nicole Bardabelias

MS student - Geosciences

Research: Nicole Bardabelias is an MS student in the UA Geosciences program. Her work involves identifying, characterizing, and modeling lava tubes on the Earth, Moon, and Mars using orbital and ground-penetrating radar.  Lava tubes are underground structures formed from the onset and subsequent retreat of thin, quick-moving channels of molten rock. They have been suggested as possible shelters for human habitation on the Moon and Mars since the 60s, since they are relatively well-protected from solar radiation, large temperature swings, and micrometeorites. Additionally, lava tubes on the Moon and Mars may be able to host volatiles, such as water ice, or preserve signs of life. These important sites for future exploration are difficult to find in pictures of the surface, but past studies have shown that using radar may be more effective at finding them. Nicole's research aims to build on this emerging technique by collecting analog data on Earth and modeling results for possible lava tubes seen by orbital radars at the Moon and Mars. 

Field Experience: Nicole and the TAPIR team have conducted two field campaigns as part of her MS thesis: one to both Lava River Cave in Flagstaff, AZ and El Malpais National Monument, NM in the summer of 2020, and a second to El Malpais in the fall of 2020. The first trip involved using our ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to collect data over a number of lava tubes at both locations. During the second trip, the team was accompanied by Dr. Christopher Hamilton who helped collect LIDAR pointcloud data of the lava tubes in conjunction with additional GPR collection.

Degrees

  • MS Geosciences 2021 - University of Arizona
  • Advanced Certification in GIS 2016 - Stony Brook University
  • BA Science of Earth Systems 2014 - Cornell University
Former