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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2019 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Constraints on Upwelling and Subduction on Venus from Radar Imaging, Topography, Composition, and Modeling
Disciplines:  Geological/Geophysical Engineering, mathematics
Mentor:  Suzanne Smrekar, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 354-4192
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  Despite the similarities in size and heat production between Venus and Earth, Venus has only a single plate rather than multiple plates like Earth. Although Venus apparently lacks spreading centers where new crust forms, it does have 10,000s km of chasmata, or systems of fractured troughs. Most areas have been interpreted as rift systems, while others have been interpreted as roll-back subduction. These rift zones contain numerous coronae and volcanoes. The coronae are interpreted as small-scale upwelling or downwellings. The radar imaging and topography data for some of these locations provide insight on the factors that control extension, subduction, and tectonic mechanisms on Venus.
Description:  In this project, we will examine synthetic aperture radar and topography to look for evidence of delamination and subduction, focusing on trenches associated with coronae. We will examine the fracture patterns, estimate elastic and mechanical thickness from topographic bending. The overall objective is to test the hypothesis that subduction is occurring on Venus and on refining the conditions that permit subduction to initiate.
References:  Orourke, J.G. and S.E. Smrekar, Signatures of lithospheric flexure and elevated heat flow in stereo topography at coronae on Venus, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/2017JE005358, 2018.
Davaille, A., S.E. Smrekar, Experimental and Observational Evidences for Plume- Induced Subduction on Venus, Nature Geosciences, doi 10.1038/ngeo2928, 2017.
Smrekar, S.E. and Sotin, C., Constraints on mantle plumes on Venus: Implications for volcanism and volatile history, Icarus, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2011.09.011, 2012.
Smrekar, S.E., T. Hoogenboom, E.R. Stofan, and P. Martin, Gravity analysis of Parga and Hecate Chasmata: Implications for rift and coronae formation, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 115, E07010, doi:10.1029/2009JE003435, 2010.
Anderson, F. S. and S.E. Smrekar, Global mapping of crustal and lithospheric thickness on Venus, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 111, E8, E08006, doi: 10.1029/2004JE002395, 2006.
Student Requirements:  Geophysics, Geology, Physics, Math, plus Matlab, Fortran, ArcGIS or other programming experience
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: No.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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