PTYS/LPL Faculty

Victor Baker


  • Daniel Berman, 2003 (Geosciences)
  • Devon Burr, 2003 (Geosciences)
  • Virginia Gulick, 1993 (Geosciences)
  • Windy Jaeger, 2004 (PTYS)
  • Jeffrey Johnson, 1994 (Geosciences)
  • Andrea Jones, 2009 (Geosciences)
  • Goro Komatsu, 1993 (PTYS)
  • David Melendrez, 1991 (Geosciences)
  • Jonathan Pedicino, 1996 (PTYS)
  • Randy Tufts, 1998 (Geosciences)


  • Goro Komatsu (1994-1996)
  • Hideaki Miyamoto (2002-2004)
Vic Baker
Regents' Professor
Planetary surfaces, Geomorphology
Ph.D., 1971, Colorado

Kuiper   #409B

Years with LPL:  1981 to present


Research interests divide into the areas of planetary geology, Earth geomorphology and paleohydrology, and issues of science and society in relation to policy, the environment, and philosophy.

My research in planetary paleohydrology focuses on the morphology, genesis, and geological/geophysical/hydrological implications of various channels, valleys, and related landforms on Mars and Venus. My students and I relate these geomorphological features to volcanic, tectonic, and atmospheric processes. Other important considerations for Mars include the conditions that may have provided habitats for life.

I also conduct field investigations of the Late Pleistocene megafloods that impacted what is now the northwestern United States. We are applying 2-D computational models to our analyses of this flooding, which provides a terrestrial analog to ancient channel-forming processes on Mars.

For the past 30 years, my students and I have been investigating Holocene paleoflood records from the southwestern U.S. We have also been studying the geomorphology of the spectacular southern Arizona debris flows of late July 2006. The applied flood-hazard work leads to concern with public policy issues and the public perception of science.

CV for Dr. Baker (PDF)


  • Obliquity-controlled Water Vapor/Trace Gas in the Martian Greenhouse Cycle (NASA-JPL)
  • RAPID: Flow Dynamic/Morphologic Impacts of March 11 Tohoku Tsunami (Japan NSF)


Skylab, PI
Apollo-Soyuz, Co-Investigator
Viking, guest investigator
Magellan, Radar Investigation Team
Mars Odyssey, Gamma Ray Spectrometer Team
NASA Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment


NASA ADS Author search: Victor R. Baker


Mischna, M. A., et al. Effects of obliquity and water vapor/trace gas greenhouses in the early martian climate 2013JGRE..118..560M

Rodriguez, J. A. P., et al. Infiltration of Martian outflow channel floodwaters into lowland cavernous systems 2012GeoRL..3922201R

Fairén, A. G., et al. Meteorites at Meridiani Planum provide evidence for significant amounts of surface and near-surface water on early Mars 2011M&PS...46.1832F

Baker, V.R., 2012, Terrestrial analogs, planetary geology, and the nature of geological reasoning: Planetary and Space Science

Baker, V.R., 2011, Global planetary change and catastrophic Earth-surface evolution: Implications for modern geomorphological research: Geographica Polonica, v. 84, Special Issue Part 2, p. 5-14.

Dohm, J.M., and 39 others, including Baker, V.R., 2011, An Inventory of Potentially Habitable Environments on Mars: Geological and Biological Perspectives, in Garry, W.B. and Bleacher, J.E., editors, Analogs for Planetary Exploration: Geological Society of America Special Paper 483, Chapter 21. p. 317-347.. doi:10.1130/2011.2483(21)..

Fairen, A. G., Dohm, J. M., Baker, V. R., et. al. Meteorites at Meridiani Planum provide evidence for significant amounts of surface and near-surface water on early Mars 2011M&PS...46.1832F

Fink, W. Tarbell, M.S., Jobling, F.M., Furfaro, R., Powers, L., Kargel, J., Baker, V.R., and Lunine, J., 2011, Robotic test bed for autonomous surface exploration of Titan, and other planetary bodies: in IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, Paper #1770, Big Sky, Montana

Pelletier, J. D., Baker, V. R. The role of weathering in the formation of bedrock valleys on Earth and Mars: A numerical modeling investigation 2011JGRE..11611007P

Rodríguez, J. A. P., et al. Secondary chaotic terrain formation in the higher outflow channels of southern circum-Chryse, Mars 2011Icar..213..150R

Komatsu, G., et al. Roles of methane and carbon dioxide in geological processes on Mars 2011P&SS...59..169K

Jones, A. P., et al. Geomorphic analysis of Hale crater, Mars: The effects of impact into ice-rich crust 2011Icar..211..259J

Alho, P., Baker, V. R., Smith, L. N. Paleohydraulic reconstruction of the largest Glacial Lake Missoula draining(s) 2010QSRv...29.3067A

Brown, K. B., et al. Isotopically-depleted late Pleistocene groundwater in Columbia River Basalt aquifers: Evidence for recharge of glacial Lake Missoula floodwaters?2010GeoRL..3721402B

Banks, M. E., et al. An analysis of sinuous ridges in the southern Argyre Planitia, Mars using HiRISE and CTX images and MOLA data 2009JGRE..11409003B

Dohm, J. M., et al. Claritas rise, Mars: Pre-Tharsis magmatism? 2009JVGR..185..139D

Dohm, J. M., et al. New evidence for a magmatic influence on the origin of Valles Marineris, Mars 2009JVGR..185...12D

Komatsu, G., et al. Quaternary paleolake formation and cataclysmic flooding along the upper Yenisei River 2009Geomo.107..143K

Dohm, J. M., et al. GRS evidence and the possibility of paleooceans on Mars 2009P&SS...57..664D

Baker, V. R. The Channeled Scabland: A Retrospective 2009AREPS..37..393B

Komatsu, G., et al. Quaternary paleolake formation and cataclysmic flooding along the upper Yenisei River 2009Geomo.104..143K

Banks, M. E., et al. High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) observations of glacial and periglacial morphologies in the circum-Argyre Planitia highlands, Mars 2008JGRE..11312015B

Baker, V. R. Paleoflood hydrology: Origin, progress, prospects 2008Geomo.101....1B

Baker, V. R. Planetary landscape systems: a limitless frontier 2008ESPL...33.1341B

Dohm, J. M., et al. Recent geological and hydrological activity on Mars: The Tharsis/Elysium corridor 2008P&SS...56..985D

Furfaro, R., et al. The search for life beyond Earth through fuzzy expert systems 2008P&SS...56..448F

Boynton, W. V., et al. Concentration of H, Si, Cl, K, Fe, and Th in the low- and mid-latitude regions of Mars 2007JGRE..11212S99B

Dohm, J. M., et al. Possible ancient giant basin and related water enrichment in the Arabia Terra province, Mars 2007Icar..190...74D

Schulze-Makuch, D., et al. Exploration of hydrothermal targets on Mars 2007Icar..189..308S

Coleman, N. M., Dinwiddie, C. L., Baker, V. R. Evidence that floodwaters filled and overflowed Capri Chasma, Mars 2007GeoRL..3407201C

Baker, V. R. Planetary science: Water cycling on Mars 2007Natur.446..150B

Mahaney, W. C., et al. Rock glaciers on Mars: Earth-based clues to Mars’ recent paleoclimatic history 2007P&SS...55..181M

Taylor, G. J., et al. Bulk composition and early differentiation of Mars 2006JGRE..11103S10T

Keller, J. M., et al. Equatorial and midlatitude distribution of chlorine measured by Mars Odyssey GRS 2006JGRE..11103S08K

Taylor, G. J., et al. Variations in K/Th on Mars 2006JGRE..11103S06T

Rodriguez, J. A. P., et al. Headward growth of chasmata by volatile outbursts, collapse, and drainage: Evidence from Ganges chaos, Mars 2006GeoRL..3318203R

Miyamoto, H., et al. Numerical simulations of large-scale cataclysmic floodwater: A simple depth-averaged model and an illustrative application 2006Geomo..76..179M

Fink, W., et al. Next-generation robotic planetary reconnaissance missions: A paradigm shift 2005P&SS...53.1419F

Schulze-Makuch, D., et al. Venus, Mars, and the Ices on Mercury and the Moon: Astrobiological Implications and Proposed Mission Designs 2005AsBio...5..778S

Fairén, A. G., et al. Prime candidate sites for astrobiological exploration through the hydrogeological history of Mars 2005P&SS...53.1355F

Berman, D. C., et al. The role of arcuate ridges and gullies in the degradation of craters in the Newton Basin region of Mars 2005Icar..178..465B

Rodríguez, J. A. P., et al. Control of impact crater fracture systems on subsurface hydrology, ground subsidence, and collapse, Mars 2005JGRE..11006003R

Fink, W., Datta, A., Baker, V. AGFA: (Airborne) Automated Geologic Field Analyzer 2005GeCAS..69..535F

Fink, W., et al. Next-generation robotic planetary reconnaissance missions: A paradigm shift 2005GeCAS..69..533F

Baker, V. R. Mars and Earth: Results of recent Mars missions 2005GeCAS..69..529B

Baker, V. R. Planetary science: Picturing a recently active Mars 2005Natur.434..280B

Baker, V. R., et al. Extraterrestrial hydrogeology 2005HydJ...13...51B

Fairén, A. G., et al. Inhibition of carbonate synthesis in acidic oceans on early Mars 2004Natur.431..423F

Mahaney, W. C., et al. Ancient wet aeolian environments on Earth: clues to presence of fossil/live microorganisms on Mars 2004Icar..171...39M

Anderson, R. C., et al. Tectonic histories between Alba Patera and Syria Planum, Mars 2004Icar..171...31A

Miyamoto, H., et al. Dynamics of unusual debris flows on Martian sand dunes 2004GeoRL..3113701M

Miyamoto, H., et al. Fluid dynamical implications of anastomosing slope streaks on Mars 2004JGRE..10906008M

Dohm, J. M., et al. The northwestern slope valleys (NSVs) region, Mars: a prime candidate site for the future exploration of Mars 2004P&SS...52..189D

Baker, V. R. Planetary scienceIcy martian mysteries 2003Natur.426..779B

Fairén, A. G., et al. Episodic flood inundations of the northern plains of Mars 2003Icar..165...53F

Ferris, J. C., et al. Correction to "Dark slope streaks on Mars: Are aqueous processes involved?" by J. C. Ferris, J. M. Dohm, V. R. Baker, and T. Maddock III 2002GeoRL..29p..34F

Ferris, J. C., et al. Dark slope streaks on Mars: Are aqueous processes involved? 2002GeoRL..29j.128F

Dohm, J. M., et al. Ancient drainage basin of the Tharsis region, Mars: Potential source for outflow channel systems and putative oceans or paleolakes 2001JGR...10632943D

Mahaney, W. C., et al. Morphogenesis of Antarctic Paleosols: Martian Analogue 2001Icar..154..113M

Baker, V. R. Water and the martian landscape 2001Natur.412..228B

Fells, J. A. J., et al. Widely tunable twin fiber grating dispersion compensator for 80 Gbit/s 2001OptPN..12...45F

Baker, V. Extraterrestrial geomorphology: an introduction 2001Geomo..37..175B

Greenbaum, N., Schick, A. P., Baker, V. R. The palaeoflood record of a hyperarid catchment, Nahal Zin, Negev Desert, Israel 2000ESPL...25..951G

Enzel, Y., et al. High-Resolution Holocene Environmental Changes in the Thar Desert Northwestern India 1999Sci...284..125E

Baker, V. R. Hydrological Understanding and Societal Action 1998JAWRA..34..819B

Greenbaum, N., et al. A high magnitude storm and flood in a hyperarid catchment, Nahal Zin, Negev Desert, Israel 1998HyPr...12....1G

Komatsu, G., Baker, V. R. Paleohydrology and flood geomorphology of Ares Vallis 1997JGR...102.4151K

Komatsu, G., Baker, V. R. Channels in the Solar System 1996P&SS...44..801K

Baker, V. The pragmatic roots of American Quaternary geology and geomorphology 1996Geomo..16..197B

Rajaguru, S. N., et al. Channel form and processes of the flood-dominated Narmada River, India 1995ESPL...20..407R

Kargel, J. S., et al. Evidence of ancient continental glaciation in the Martian northern plains 1995JGR...100.5351K

Sumin Finn, V., et al. Large-scale spatial patterns in topography at Alpha Regio, Venus 1995GeoRL..22.1901S

Komatsu, G., Baker, V. R. Plains tectonism on Venus: Inferences from canali longitudinal profiles 1994Icar..110..275K

Baker, V. Geomorphological understanding of floods 1994Geomo..10..139B

Johnson, J. R., Baker, V. R. Surface property variations in Venusian fluidized ejecta blanket craters 1994Icar..110...33J

Wohl, E. E., Fuertsch, S. J., Baker, V. R. Sedimentary records of late Holocene floods along the Fitzroy and Margaret Rivers, Western Australia 1994AuJES..41..273W

Wohl, E. E., et al. Controls on bedrock channel incision along nahal paran, Israel 1994ESPL...19....1W

O'Connor, J. E., et al. A 4500-Year Record of Large Floods on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, Arizona 1994JG....102....1O

Komatsu, G., Baker, V. R. Meander properties of Venusian channels 1994Geo....22...67K

Ely, L. L., et al. A 5000-Year Record of Extreme Floods and Climate Change in the Southwestern United States 1993Sci...262..410E

Baker, V. Extraterrestrial geomorphology: science and philosophy of Earthlike planetary landscapes 1993Geomo...7....9B

Kargel, J. S., et al. The volcanology of Venera and VEGA landing sites and the geochemistry of Venus 1993Icar..103..253K

Komatsu, G., et al. Venusian channels and valleys - Distribution and volcanological implications 1993Icar..102....1K

Baker, V. R., Benito, G., Rudoy, A. N. Paleohydrology of Late Pleistocene Superflooding, Altay Mountains, Siberia 1993Sci...259..348B

Baker, V. R., et al. Channels and valleys on Venus - Preliminary analysis of Magellan data 1992JGR....9713421B

Komatsu, G., Kargel, J. S., Baker, V. R. Canali-type channels on Venus - Some genetic constraints 1992GeoRL..19.1415K

Baker, V. R., et al. Ancient oceans, ice sheets and the hydrological cycle on Mars 1991Natur.354...86B

Baker, V. R., et al. Ancient oceans, ice sheets and the hydrological cycle on Mars 1991Natur.352..589B

Baker, V. The reenchantment of geomorphology 1991Geomo...4...73B

Arvidson, R. E., et al. Magellan - Initial analysis of Venus surface modification 1991Sci...252..270A

Gulick, V. C., Baker, V. R. Origin and evolution of valleys on Martian volcanoes 1990JGR....9514325G

Baker, V. Rocks and landforms by A.J. Gerrard. Unwin Hyman, London, 1988, xiii+319 pp., £11.95. (paperback) 1990Geomo...3...94B

Gulick, V. C., Baker, V. R. Fluvial valleys and Martian palaeoclimates 1989Natur.341..514G

Baker, V. Paleoflood hydrology and extraordinary flood events 1987JHyd...96...79B

And, J. P., Baker, V. R. Palaeoflood hydrology of the Salt river, Arizona 1987ESPL...12..109A

Stedinger, J. R., Baker, V. R. Surface Water Hydrology: Historical and Paleoflood Information (Paper 7R0051) 1987RvGeo..25..119S

Baker, V. R. Networks of branching valleys on Mars 1986PhInt..25...37B

Baker, V. R., Partridge, J. B. Small Martian valleys - Pristine and degraded morphology 1986JGR....91.3561B

Brakenridge, G. R., Newsom, H. E., Baker, V. R. Ancient hot springs on Mars: Origins and paleoenvironmental significance of small Martian valleys 1985Geo....13..859B

Baker, V. R., Pickup, G., Polach, H. A. Radiocarbon dating of flood events, Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory, Australia 1985Geo....13..344B

Baker, V. Cataclysmic Late pleistocene flooding from glacial Lake Missoula: A review 1985QSRv....4....1B

Baker, V. R. The Channels of Mars 1983C&T....99R..65B

Baker, V. R. Erosional processes in channelized water flows on Mars 1979JGR....84.7985B

Baker, V. R., Kochel, R. C. Martian channel morphology - Maja and Kasei Valles 1979JGR....84.7961B

Baker, V. R. The Spokane flood controversy and the Martian outflow channels 1978Sci...202.1249B

Patton, P. C., Baker, V. R. New evidence for pre-Wisconsin flooding in the channeled scabland of eastern Washington 1978Geo.....6..567P

Baker, V. R., Penteado-Orellana, M. M. Adjustment to Quaternary Climatic Change by the Colorado River in Central Texas 1977JG.....85..395B

Baker, V. R. Hydrogeomorphic methods for the regional evaluation of flood hazards 1976EnGeo...1..261B

Baker, V. R. Urban geology of boulder, colorado: A progress report 1975EnGeo...1...75B

Baker, V. R., Milton, D. J. Erosion by catastrophic floods on Mars and Earth 1974Icar...23...27B

Baker, V. Paleohydraulic interpretation of Quaternary alluvium near Golden, Colorado 1974QuRes...4...94B