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Matthew R. Smith

Graduate Student
Dept of Earth and Space Sciences

UW-ESS; Mailstop 351310
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-1310

Office:  266 Johnson Hall
Phone : 206-543-4914
Fax (shared) :
Email : matthers@u.washington.edu

I received my B.S. in Geology from the University of Southern California in 2005 and am currently a Ph.D. student here at the University of Washington. I'm broadly interested in the geology and geomorphology of Mars.  I've studied many topics under that heading, including:  the effects of long-term obliteration on crater populations and inferred surface ages, stratigraphic age of sulfate-bearing light-toned outcrops in Valles Marineris, safety of Phoenix lander and MSL rover landing sites by quantifying surface roughness, age of tectonic events in the Thaumasia region by examining the interaction of faults and craters, and the geologic history of northern Syrtis Major/Antoniadi crater through spectral analysis of hydrated mineralogy and analogy with similar terrestrial environments.


University of Washington.  Seattle, WA, Ph. D. student, 2005-Present.
Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Preliminary exam passed.
Thesis advisor:  Alan Gillespie, expected graduation in 2010.

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
B.S. (Geological Sciences, Magna Cum Laude), 2005.
Research advisor:  Frank Corsetti.

Research Experience:

Research Assistant, University of Washington (current).  Using satellite and ground measurements to characterize the geological history of Mars.

Assistant editor, Quaternary Research, 2009-Present.  Review articles for clarity, content and correct grammar; managed peer-review process by communicating with authors, editors, and reviewers and issuing decisions based on reviewer recommendations.

Nordic-NASA Summer School:  Water, Ice and the Origin of Life in the Universe, 2009;  Comprehensive seminar in Reykjavik, Iceland -- composed of lecture, laboratory, and field work -- teaching the history of water in the
solar system and to characterizing life in extreme hydrothermal environments.

NASA Planetary Science Summer School, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2007.
Intensive program to design and organize a hypothetical planetary mission to familiarize students with hands-on mission planning and design.

Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Southern California, 2004-5.
Using image compression algorithms to model the effects of biological organization on geological structures for appliction to in situ robotic measurements on planetary surfaces.


Smith, M.R., A.R. Gillespie, D.R. Montgomery, and J. Batbataar (2009). Crater-fault interactions:  A metric for dating fault zones on planetary surfaces, Earth and Planet Sci. Lett., (284),151-156.

Smith, M.R.,  A.R. Gillespie, and D.R. Montgomery (2008).  Effect of obliteration on crater-count chronologies for Martian surfaces, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L10202.
Erratum for this article.

Selected Abstracts:

Smith, M.R. et al., "Evolution of the Thaumasia volcano-tectonic province, Mars, through crater-fault relationships." poster presented at the 2009 Fall AGU Conference, San Francisco, CA

Smith, M.R., et al., "Rock Abundances at MSL Candidate Landing Sites using HRSC Stereo & HiRISE images," poster presented at the 2008 Fall AGU Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Smith, M.R., A. Mushkin, A.R. Gillespie, L. Gilson, and M.P. Golombek, "Quantitative Roughness Assessment at Proposed MSL Landing Sites," poster presented at the 3rd MSL Landing Site Selection Conference, Monrovia, CA, 2008.

Smith, M.R., A.R. Gillespie, and D.R. Montgomery, "The Effect of Crater Obliteration on Inferred Surface Ages on Mars," talk given at 2007 Fall AGU Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Smith, M.R., et al., "The Wirtanen Analysis and Surface Probe:  Concept for a New Frontiers Comet Surface Sample Return Mission, " poster given at 39th Meeting of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences, Orlando, FL, 2007.

Smith, M.R., et al., "Photographic Evidence for Exhumation of Light-Toned Deposits from the Walls of Valles Marineris," poster given at Workshop on Martian Sulfates as Recorders of Atmospheric-Fluid-Rock Interactions, Houston, TX, 2006.

Relevant Coursework (undergraduate):

Calculus I, II, III
Mineralogy & Petrology
Geochemistry & Hydrogeology
Stratigraphy & Sedimentology
C+ Programming
Physics (Mechanical & Electrical)
Structural Geology
Geophysics & Geoengineering

Relevant Coursework (graduate):

Vector Calculus/Complex Variables
Differential Equations
Remote Sensing
Spectral Remote Sensing
Earth Surface Processes
Space & Space Plasmas
Partial Differential Equations
Continuum Mechanics
Probability and Statistics
Martian Geomorphology
Atmospheric Radiative Transfer


University of Washington, Graduate Teaching Assistant, 2005-2008
    ESS 101 (Introduction to Geology)
    ESS 102 (Space & Space Travel)
    ESS 421 (Introduction to Remote Sensing)

University of Washington, Volunteer Instructor, "Rock"ing Out, 2006-Present

University of Washington, Guest Lecturer, 2006-2010
    ESS 102 (Space & Space Travel)
    ESS 421 (Intro to Remote Sensing)
    ESS 422 (Spectral Remote Sensing)
    ESS 495 (NASA Research Seminar)
    ESS 590 (Martian Geomorphology)
    ESS 595 (Intro to Research Methods)


NAGT Geosciences Scholarship, 2005

Estwing Pick Award, University of Southern California, 2005
    Awarded for highest GPA and best overall graduating student in department

Honorable mention, Undergraduate Research Symposium, 2005
    Title:  Using Image Compression to Find the Presence of Life in Ordovician Stromatolites

last updated:  1/5/2010


   W. M. Keck Remote Sensing and Planetary Sciences Laboratory
    Department of Earth and Space Sciences
    University of Washington

    Box 351310
    Seattle, WA  98195