Astrogeology Science Center

Colin Dundas is a Research Geologist with the USGS. He studies planetary geomorphology and surface processes using spacecraft imagery and topography data as well as numerical modeling, with a particular focus on active processes and change detection. He is a Co-Investigator and Science Theme Lead for Mass Wasting on the HiRISE camera team. Past and current research areas include:

  • Current activity on Martian slopes, including Recurring Slope Lineae and changes in gullies
  • Martian ground ice, ice-exposing impact craters, and thermokarst landforms
  • Large lava flows and lava-volatile interactions on Mars and Io
  • Effects of target properties and secondary craters on crater chronology
  • Floods in Martian outflow channels 
  • Volatile-loss landforms in the Solar System
Contact: cdundas "at"


  • The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
    • Ph.D., Planetary Science, 2009, advisor: Alfred McEwen
  • California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
    • B.S. with honors, Planetary Science, 2004 

Professional Experience

  • Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey, 2011-present
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Arizona, 2009-2011


  • NASA Planetary Science Early Career Fellow (2014)
  • USGS STAR awards, 2014, 2017
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, MRO HiRISE Science Team, 2011
  • Career Development Award, Lunar and Planetary Institute, 2009
  • TRIF Imaging Fellowship, University of Arizona, 2007


  • Co-guest editor for Icarus special section (2015-2016)
  • Review panel member for multiple NASA grant programs
  • Session co-convener: AGU Fall Meeting (2011, 2017), GSA Annual Meeting (2014)
  • Session chair: LPSC (2015), AGU Fall Meeting (2011), Mars Polar Conference (2016)



  • Van der Bogert, C. H., Hiesinger, H., Dundas, C. M., Kruger, T., Zanetti, M., McEwen, A. S., Robinson, M. S., 2017. Origins of discrepancies between crater size-frequency distributions of coeval lunar geologic units. Icarus, 298, 49-63, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2016.11.040. 
  • Dundas, C. M., 2017. Effects of lava heating on volatile-rich slopes on Io. J. Geophys. Res., 122, 546-559, doi:10.1002/2016JE005177. 
  • Viola, D., McEwen, A. S., Byrne, S., Dundas, C. M., 2017. Subsurface volatile content of Martian double-layer ejecta (DLE) craters. Icarus, 284, 325-343.
  • Dundas, C. M., 2017. Effects of varying obliquity on Martian sublimation thermokarst landforms. Icarus, 281, 115-120.
  • Chojnacki, M., McEwen, A., Dundas, C., Ojha, L., Urso, A., Sutton, S., 2016. Geologic context of Recurring Slope Lineae in Melas and Coprates Chasmata, Valles Marineris, Mars. J. Geophys. Res., 121, doi:10.1002/2015JE004991.  
  • Landis, M. E., Byrne, S., Daubar, I. J., Herkenhoff, K. E., Dundas, C. M., 2016. A revised surface age for the North Polar Layered Deposits of Mars. Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL068434.
  • Daubar, I. J., Dundas, C. M., Byrne, S., Geissler, P., Bart, G. D., McEwen, A. S., Russell, P. S., Chojnacki, M., Golombek, M. P., 2016. Changes in blast zone albedo patterns around new Martian impact craters. Icarus, 267, 86-105.
  • Cataldo, V., Williams, D. A., Dundas, C. M., Keszthelyi, L. P., 2015. Limited role for thermal erosion by turbulent lava in proximal Athabasca Valles, Mars. J. Geophys. Res, 120, doi:10.1002/2014JE004761.
  • Dundas, C. M., Byrne, S., McEwen, A. S., 2015. Modeling the development of Martian sublimation thermokarst landforms. Icarus, 262, 154-169. 
  • Baker, L. L., Bernard, A., Rember, W. C., Milazzo, M., Dundas, C., Abramov, O., Keszthelyi, L., 2015. Temperature profile around a basaltic sill intruded into wet sediments. J. Volc. Geotherm . Res., 302, 81-86.
  • Dundas, C. M., McEwen, A. S., 2015. Slope activity in Gale crater, Mars. Icarus, 254, 213-218.
  • Hansen, C. J., Diniega, S., Bridges, N., Byrne, S., Dundas, C., McEwen, A., Portyankina, G., 2015. Agents of change on Mars’ northern dunes: CO2 ice and wind. Icarus, 251, 264-274.
  • Dundas, C. M., Diniega, S., McEwen, A. S., 2015. Long-term monitoring of Martian gully formation and evolution with MRO/HiRISE. Icarus, 251, 244-263.
  • Viola, D., McEwen, A. S., Dundas, C. M., Byrne, S., 2015. Expanded secondary craters in Arcadia Planitia, Mars: Evidence for tens of Myr-old shallow subsurface ice. Icarus, 248, 190-204.
  • Dundas, C. M., Keszthelyi, L. P., 2014. Emplacement and erosive effects of lava in South Kasei Valles, Mars. J. Volc. Geotherm. Res., 282, 92-102. 
  • Ojha, L., McEwen, A., Dundas, C., Byrne, S., Mattson, S., Wray, J., Masse, M., Schaefer, E., 2014. HiRISE observations of Recurring Slope Lineae during southern summer on Mars. Icarus, 231, 365-376. 
  • Dundas, C. M., Byrne, S., McEwen, A. S., Mellon, M. T., Kennedy, M. R., Daubar, I. J., Saper, L., 2014. HiRISE observations of new impact craters exposing Martian ground ice. J. Geophys. Res., 119, doi: 10.1002/2013JE004482.
  • McEwen, A. S., Dundas, C. M., Mattson, S. S., Toigo, A. D., Ojha, L., Wray, J. J., Chojnacki, M., Byrne, S., Murchie, S. L., Thomas, N., 2014. Recurring Slope Lineae in equatorial regions of Mars. Nature Geoscience, 7, 53-58.
  • Dundas, C. M., Keszthelyi, L. P., 2013. Modeling steam pressure under Martian lava flows. Icarus 226, 1058-1067.
  • Hansen, C. J., Byrne, S., Portyankina, G., Bourke, M., Dundas, C., McEwen, A., Mellon, M., Pommerol, A., Thomas, N., 2013. Observations of the northern seasonal polar cap on Mars I. Spring sublimation activity and processes. Icarus, 225, 881-897.
  • Diniega, S., Hansen, C. J., McElwaine, J. N., Hugenholtz, C. H., Dundas, C. M., McEwen, A. S., Bourke, M. C., 2013. A new dry hypothesis for the formation of Martian linear gullies. Icarus, 225, 526-537.
  • Dundas, C. M., Diniega, S., Hansen, C. J., Byrne, S., McEwen, A. S., 2012. Seasonal activity and morphological changes in Martian gullies. Icarus 220, 124-143.
  • Choi, D. S., Dundas, C. M., 2011. Measurements of Martian dust devil winds with HiRISE. Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L24206, doi: 10.1029/2011GL049806.
  • McEwen, A. S., Ojha, L., Dundas, C. M., Mattson, S. S., Byrne, S., Wray, J. J., Cull, S. C., Murchie, S. L., Thomas, N., Gulick, V. C., 2011. Seasonal flows on warm Martian slopes. Science 333, 740-743.
  • Hansen, C. J., Bourke, M., Bridges, N. T., Byrne, S., Colon, C., Diniega, S., Dundas, C., Herkenhoff, K., McEwen, A., Mellon, M., Portyankina, G., Thomas, N., 2011. Seasonal erosion and restoration of Mars’ northern polar dunes. Science 331, 575-578.
  • Wray, J. J., Milliken, R. E., Dundas, C. M., Swayze, G. A., Andrews-Hanna, J. C., Baldridge, A. M., Chojnacki, M., Bishop, J. L., Ehlmann, B. L., Murchie, S. L., Clark, R. N., Seelos, F. P., Tornabene, L. L., Squyres, S. W., 2011. Columbus Crater and other possible groundwater-fed paleolakes of Terra Sirenum, Mars. J. Geophys. Res., E01001, doi: 10.1029/2010JE003694.
  • Diniega, S., Byrne, S., Bridges, N. T., Dundas, C. M., McEwen, A. S., 2010. Seasonality of present-day Martian dune-gully activity. Geology 38, 1047-1050.
  • Banks, M. E., Byrne, S., Galla, K., McEwen, A. S., Bray, V. J., Dundas, C. M., Fishbaugh, K. E., Herkenhoff, K. E., Murray, B. C., 2010. Crater population and resurfacing of the Martian North Polar Layered Deposits. J. Geophys. Res. 115, E08006, doi: 10.1029/2009JE003523.
  • Reufer, A., Thomas, N., Benz, W., Byrne, S., Bray, V., Dundas, C., Searls, M., 2010. Models of high velocity impacts into dust-covered ice: Application to Martian northern lowlands. Planet. Space Sci. 58, 1160-1168.
  • Dundas, C. M., Keszthelyi, L. P., Bray, V. J., McEwen, A. S., 2010. The role of material properties in the cratering record of young platy-ridged lava on Mars. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L12203, doi: 10.1029/2010GL042869.
  • Dundas, C. M., McEwen, A. S., Diniega, S., Byrne, S., Martinez-Alonso, S., 2010. New and recent gully activity on Mars as seen by HiRISE. Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L07202, doi: 10.1029/2009GL041351.
  • Dundas, C. M., Byrne, S., 2010. Modeling sublimation of ice exposed by new impacts in the Martian mid-latitudes. Icarus 206, 716-728.
  • Keszthelyi, L. P., Jaeger, W. L., Dundas, C. M., Martinez-Alonso, S., McEwen, A. S., Milazzo, M. P., 2010. Hydrovolcanic features on Mars: Preliminary observations from the first Mars year of HiRISE imaging. Icarus 205, 211-229.
  • Dundas, C. M., McEwen, A. S., 2010. An assessment of evidence for pingos on Mars using HiRISE. Icarus 205, 244-258.
  • McEwen, A. S., and 69 colleagues, 2010. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) during MRO’s Primary Science Phase (PSP). Icarus 205, 2-37.
  • Byrne, S., Dundas, C. M., et al., 2009. Distribution of mid-latitude ground ice on Mars from new impact craters. Science 325, 1674-1676.
  • Lefort, A., Russell, P. S., Thomas, N., McEwen, A. S., Dundas, C. M., Kirk, R. L., 2009. HiRISE observations of periglacial landforms in Utopia Planitia. J. Geophys. Res. 114, E04005, doi: 10.1029/2008JE003264.
  • Keszthelyi, L., Jaeger, W., McEwen, A., Tornabene, L., Beyer, R. A., Dundas, C., Milazzo, M., 2008. High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images of volcanic terrains from the first 6 months of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Primary Science Phase. J. Geophys. Res. 113, E04005, doi: 10.1029/2007JE002968.
  • Dundas, C. M., Mellon, M. T., McEwen, A. S., Lefort, A., Keszthelyi, L. P., Thomas, N., 2008. HiRISE observations of fractured mounds: Possible Martian pingos. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L04201, doi: 10.1029/2007GL031798.
  • McEwen, A. S., and 32 colleagues, 2007. A closer look at water-related geologic activity on Mars. Science 317, 1706-1709.
  • Jaeger, W. L., Keszthelyi, L. P., McEwen, A. S., Dundas, C. M., Russell, P. S., 2007. Athabasca Valles, Mars: A lava-draped channel system. Science 317, 1709-1711.
  • Dundas, C. M., McEwen, A. S., 2007. Rays and secondary craters of Tycho. Icarus 186, 31-40.