Astrogeology Science Center


  • Ph.D., Geological Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, 2005
  • B.S., Geology & Geophysics, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, 1997


U.S. Geological Survey, Astrogeology Science Center, 2008 - Present

Research Geophysicist

  • Characterization of strain localization in terrestrial analogs of Martian sedimentary deposits and implications for subsurface fluid flow
  • Thermal characterization of pit craters on Kīlauea volcano, Hawai‘i
  • High resolution structural mapping in west Candor Chasma, Mars
  • Stability analyses of Martian “gullies” and investigation of formation mechanisms
  • Mission operations for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • Co-Investigator, High Resolution Stereo Color Imager (HiSCI) camera for the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 2005 - 2008

Postdoctoral Research Associate

  • Investigating fracture-controlled fluid flow on Mars
  • HiRISE mission operations

Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, 2000 - 2005

Research Assistant

  • Investigating strain localization in porous rocks and implications for deformation band formation
  • Structural analysis of thrust fault-related folds on Mars

Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai‘i, 1997 - 2000

Research Associate

  • Satellite monitoring of active terrestrial volcanoes


  • NASA Group Achievement Award, HiRISE Operations Team, 2011
  • NASA Early Career Fellow in Planetary Science, 2006 - 2010
  • Outstanding Ph.D. student in Geo-Engineering, Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, 2004
  • Overall Outstanding Graduate Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, 2004

Professional Affiliations

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • Wilderness Medicine Institute


Peer-reviewed Papers

  • Chan, M.A., Nicoll, K., Ormo, J., Okubo, C.H., Komatsu, G. [2011]. Geologic and geomorphologic terrestrial analogs to Mars: Why Utah should be considered a primary training ground for future robotic and human missions to Mars. In Garry, W.B. and Bleacher, J.E. (eds.), Analogs for Planetary Exploration, Geological Society of America, Special Paper 483, 349-376.
  • Conway, S.J., Balme, M.R., Towner, M.C., Murray, J.B., Okubo, C.H., Grindrod, P.M. [2011]. The indication of martian gully formation processes by slope-area analysis. in Balme, M.R., et al. (eds.), Martian Geomorphology, Geological Society, London, Special Publication 356, 171-201, doi: 10.1144/SP356.10.
  • Okubo, C.H., Tornabene, L.L., Lanza, N.L. [2010]. Constraints on mechanisms for gully formation from two-dimensional stability assessments of rock slopes in Gasa crater, Mars, Icarus, 211, 207-221, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.09.025.
  • Schultz, R.A., Okubo, C.H., Fossen H. [2010]. Porosity and Grain Size Controls on Compaction Band Formation in Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L22306, doi:10.1029/2010GL044909.
  • Schultz, R.A., Hauber, E., Kattenhorn, S., Okubo, C.H., Watters, T.R. [2010]. Interpretation and analysis of planetary structures, Journal of Structural Geology, 32, 855-875, doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2009.09.005.
  • Metz, J., Grotzinger, J., Okubo, C.H., Milliken, R. [2010]. Thin-skinned Deformation of Sedimentary Rocks in Valles Marineris, Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, E11004, doi:10.1029/2010JE003593.
  • Okubo, C.H. [2010]. Structural analysis of Amazonian-aged layered deposits in southwest Candor Chasma, Icarus, 207, 210-255, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.11.012.
  • Carter, L.M., Campbell, B.A., Holt, J.W., Phillips, R.J., Putzig, N.E., Mattei, S., Seu, R., Okubo, C.H., Egan, A.F. [2009]. Dielectric properties of lava flows west of Ascraeus Mons, Mars, Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L23204, doi:10.1029/2009GL041234.
  • Schultz, R.A., Soliva, R., Okubo, C.H., Mège, D. [2009]. Fault populations. In Schultz, R.A. and Watters, T.R. (eds), Planetary Tectonics, Cambridge University Press, 518 p.
  • Chan, M.A., Ormo, J., Murchie, S., Okubo, C.H., Komatsu, G., Wray, J.J., McGuire, P., McGovern, J.A. and the HiRISE Team [2009]. Geomorphic knobs of Candor Chasma, Mars: New HiRISE images and comparisons to terrestrial analogs, Icarus, 205, 138-153, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.04.006.
  • Lanza, N.L., Meyer, G., Okubo, C., Newsom, H.E. and Wiens, R.C. [2009]. Evidence for debris flow and shallow subsurface flow on Mars, Icarus, 205, 64-72, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.04.014.
  • McEwen, A.S., Banks, M., Baugh, N., Becker, K., Boyd, A., Bergstrom, J.W., Beyer, R.A., Bortolini, E., Bridges, N.T., Byrne, S., Castalia, B., Chuang, F.C., Crumpler, L.S., Daubar, I., Davatzes, A., Deardorff, D.G., DeJong, A., Delamere, W.A., Noe Dobrea, E., Dundas, C., Eliason, E.M., Espinoza, Y., Fennema, A., Fishbaugh, K.E., Forrester, T., Geissler, P.E., Grant, J.A., Griffes, J., Grotzinger, J., Gulick, V.C., Hansen, C.J., Herkenhoff, K.E., Heyd, R., Jaeger, W.L., Jones, D., Kanefsky, B., Keszthelyi, L., King, R., Kirk, R.L., Kolb, K., Lasco, J., Lefort, A., Leis, R., Lewis, K., Martinez-Alonso, S.E., Mattson, S., McArthur, G., Mellon, M.T., Metz, J., Milazzo, M., Milliken, R., Motazedian, T., Okubo, C., Ortiz, A., Plassmann, J., Polit, A., Russell, P.S., Schaller, C., Searls, M., Spriggs, T., Squyres, S.W., Tarr, S., Thomas, N., Thomson, B., Tornabene, L.L., Van Houten, C., Verba, C., Weitz, C.M., Wray, J.J. [2009]. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) during MRO’s Primary Science Phase (PSP), Icarus, 205, 2-37, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.04.023.
  • Newsom, H., Lanza, N., Ollila, A., Wiseman, S., Roush, T.L., Marzo, G.A., Tornabene, L., Okubo, C., Osterloo, M., Hamilton, V., Crumpler, L. [2009]. Evidence for inverted channel formation on the floor of Miyamoto crater, Mars, Icarus, 205, 64-72, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.03.030.
  • Kolb, K.J., and Okubo, C.H. [2009]. Coregistration of Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Topography with High-Resolution Mars Images. Computers and Geosciences, 35, 2304-2313, doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2009.04.008.
  • Carter, L.M., Campbell, B.A., Watters, T.R., Phillips, R.J., Putzig, N.E., Safaeinili, A., Plaut, J.J., Okubo, C.H., Egan, A.F., Seu, R., Biccari, D., and Orosei, R. [2009]. Shallow Radar (SHARAD) Sounding Observations of the Medusae Fossae Formation, Mars. Icarus, 199, 295-302, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2008.10.007.
  • Okubo, C.H., Schultz, R.A., Chan, M.A., Komatsu, G., and the HiRISE Team [2009]. Deformation Band Clusters on Mars and Implications for Subsurface Fluid Flow. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 121, 474-482, doi:10.1130/B26421.1.
  • Russell, P., Thomas, N., Byrne, S., Herkenhoff, K., Fishbaugh, K., Okubo, C., Milazzo, M., Daubar, I., Hansen, C., and McEwen, A. [2008]. Seasonally active frost-dust avalanches on a north polar scarp of Mars captured by HiRISE. Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L23204, doi:10.1029/2008GL035790.
  • Okubo, C.H., Lewis, K.L., McEwen, A.S., Kirk, R.L., the HiRISE Team [2008]. Relative age of Interior Layered Deposits in southwest Candor Chasma based on high-resolution structural mapping. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, E12002, doi:10.1029/2008JE003181.
  • Schultz, R.A., Soliva, R., Fossen, H., Okubo, C.H., and Reeves, D.M. [2008]. Dependence of displacement-length scaling relations for fractures and deformation bands on the volumetric changes across them. Journal of Structural Geology, 30, 1405-1411, doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2008.08.001.
  • Tanaka, K.L., Rodriguez, J.A.P. Skinner, J.A., Bourke, M.C., Fortezzo, C.M., Herkenhoff, K.E., Kolb, E.J., Okubo, C.H. [2008] North polar region of Mars: Advances in stratigraphy, structure, and erosional modification, Icarus, 196, 318-358, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2008.01.021.
  • Okubo, C.H. [2007]. Strength and deformability of light-toned layered deposits observed by MER Opportunity: Eagle to Erebus craters, Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L20205, doi:10.1029/2007GL031327.
  • McEwen, A., Hansen, C. , Delamere, A., Eliason, E., Herkenhoff, K., Keszthelyi, L., Gulick, V. , Kirk, R., Mellon, M., Grant, J., Thomas, N., Weitz, C., Squyres, S., Bridges, N., Murchie, S., Seelos, F., Seelos, K., Okubo, C., Milazzo, M. , Tornabene, L., Jaeger, W., Byrne, S., Russell, P., Griffes, J., Martinez-Alonso, S., Devatzes, A. , Chuang, F., Thomson, B., Fishbaugh, K., Dundas, C., Kolb, K., Banks, M., Wray, J. [2007]. A Closer Look at Water-Related Geologic Activity on Mars. Science, 317, 1706-1709, doi:10.1126/science.1143987.
  • Okubo, C.H., Schultz, R.A. [2007]. Compactional deformation bands in Wingate Sandstone; Additional evidence of an impact origin for Upheaval Dome, Utah. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 256, 169-181, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2007.01.024.
  • Okubo, C.H., McEwen, A.S. [2007]. Fracture controlled paleo-fluid flow in Candor Chasma, Mars. Science, 315, 983-985, doi:10.1126/science.1136855. Cover photo
  • Okubo, C.H., Schultz, R.A. [2006]. Variability in Early Amazonian Tharsis stress state based on wrinkle ridges and strike-slip faulting. Journal of Structural Geology, 28, 2169-2181, doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2005.11.008.
  • Schultz, R.A., Okubo, C.H., Wilkins, S.J. [2006]. Displacement-length scaling relations for faults on the terrestrial planets. Journal of Structural Geology, 28, 2182-2193, doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2006.03.034.
  • Okubo, C.H., Schultz, R.A. [2005]. Near-tip stress rotation and the development of key deformation band stepover geometries in mode II. GSA Bulletin, 118, 343-348, doi:10.1130/B25820.1. Cover photo
  • Okubo, C.H., Schultz, R.A. [2005]. Evolution of damage zone geometry and intensity in porous sandstone: Insight gained from strain energy density. Journal of the Geological Society, 162, 939-950, doi:10.1144/0016-764904-148.
  • Okubo, C.H. [2004]. Rock mass strength and slope stability of the Hilina slump, Kīlauea volcano, Hawai‘i. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 138, 43-76, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2004.06.006.
  • Schultz, R.A., Okubo, C.H., Goudy, C.L., Wilkins, S.J. [2004]. Igneous dikes on Mars revealed by MOLA topography. Geology, 32, 889-892, doi:10.1130/G20548.1.
  • Okubo, C.H., Schultz, R.A. [2004]. Mechanical stratigraphy in the western equatorial region of Mars based on thrust fault-related fold topography & implications for near-surface volatile reservoirs. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 116, 594-605, doi:10.1130/B25361.1.
  • Okubo, C.H., Schultz, R.A., Stefanelli, G. [2004]. Gridding Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter data with GMT: Effects of pixel size and interpolation methods on DEM integrity. Computers & Geosciences, 30, 59-72, doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2003.10.004.
  • Okubo, C.H., Schultz, R.A. [2003]. Thrust fault vergence directions on Mars: A foundation for investigating global-scale Tharsis-driven tectonics. Geophysical Research Letters, 30, 2154, doi:10.1029/2003GL018664.
  • Harris, A.J.L., Flynn, L.P., Dean, K., Pilger, E., Wooster, M., Okubo, C.H., Mouginis-Mark, P., Garbeil, H., De la Cruz Reyna, S., Thornber, C., Rothery, D. and Wright, R. [1999]. Real-time Monitoring of Volcanic Hot Spots with Satellites. IN Remote Sensing Volcanism, AGU Monograph Series, Mouginis-Mark, P., Fink, J., Crisp J., (eds), 139-160. American Geophysical Union.

Ph.D. Dissertation

  • Okubo, C.H. [2005]. Strain localization within fault-related folds, with applications to Mars. University of Nevada, Reno. 243 p.

B.S. Honors Thesis

  • Okubo, C.H., Martel, S.J. [1998]. Pit crater formation on Kīlauea volcano, Hawai‘i. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 86, 1-18, doi:10.1016/S0377-0273(98)00070-5.