PTYS/LPL Faculty

Christopher Hamilton


  • Leon Palafox
  • Stephen Scheidt
Christopher Hamilton
Assistant Professor
Planetary surfaces, Volcanology
Ph.D., 2010, University of Hawaii

Kuiper   #533A

Years with LPL:  2014


Dr. Hamilton's research focuses on geological surface processes to better understand the evolution of the Earth and other planetary bodies. His specialty relates to volcanology and specifically to lava flows, magma-water interactions, explosive eruptions, and volcaniclastic sedimentation using a combination of field observations, remote sensing, geospatial analysis, and geophysical modeling. These topics provide insight into (1) the evolution of planetary interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres through magma production, ascent, and volcanism; (2) hydrothermal systems; and (3) comparative planetology and climatology.


  • "Volcanism and Interior Heating Processes on Io" NASA Outer Planets Research Program (PI)
  • "Sinuous channels in volcanic provinces on the Earth and Mars" NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program (PI)
  • "Volcanic Plains on Mars: Lava Morphologies, Emplacement Dynamics, and Paleoenvironments in Northeastern Elysium Planitia and Central Tharsis " NASA Mars Data Analysis Program (PI)
  • "Geologic mapping of Hrad Vallis, Mars: Investigating the hypothesized occurrence of recent mud flows on Mars during the Amazonian Era" NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program (Co-I)
  • "Simulation of inflated pahoehoe lava flows on Earth and Mars" NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program (Co-I)
  • "Quantitative studies of lava flows and explosive volcanic eruption plumes on planetary bodies" NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program (Co-I)
  • "The role of external water in explosive phreatomagmatic eruptions" NSF Division of Earth Sciences (Co-I)
  • "Quantitative measurements of active Ionian volcanoes: Global distribution and temporal variability using Galileo NIMS, PPR, ground-based, and New Horizons data" NASA Outer Planets Research Program (Collaborator)
  • "Stereo-derived topography for the last frontier and the final frontier" NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Program (Collaborator)
  • "Development and instability of melt decompaction layers in the Martian lithosphere and their effect on the spacing of volcanic centers" NASA Mars Fundamental Research Program (Collaborator)


NASA ADS Author Search: Christopher Hamilton


Hamilton, C. W., Glaze, L. S., James, M. R., Baloga, S. M. Topographic and stochastic influences on pāhoehoe lava lobe emplacement 2013BVol...75..756H

Hamilton, C. W., et al. Spatial distribution of volcanoes on Io: Implications for tidal heating and magma ascent 2013E&PSL.361..272H

Boyce, J. M., et al. Origin of small pits in martian impact craters 2012Icar..221..262B

Tornabene, L. L., et al. Widespread crater-related pitted materials on Mars: Further evidence for the role of target volatiles during the impact process 2012Icar..220..348T

Hamilton, C. W., Fagents, S. A., Thordarson, T. Lava-ground ice interactions in Elysium Planitia, Mars: Geomorphological and geospatial analysis of the Tartarus Colles cone groups 2011JGRE..116.3004H

Hamilton, C. W., Fagents, S. A., Wilson, L. Explosive lava-water interactions in Elysium Planitia, Mars: Geologic and thermodynamic constraints on the formation of the Tartarus Colles cone groups 2010JGRE..115.9006H

Hamilton, C. W., Fagents, S. A., Thordarson, T. Explosive lava-water interactions II: self-organization processes among volcanic rootless eruption sites in the 1783-1784 Laki lava flow, Iceland 2010BVol...72..469H

Hamilton, C. W., Thordarson, T., Fagents, S. A. Explosive lava-water interactions I: architecture and emplacement chronology of volcanic rootless cone groups in the 1783-1784 Laki lava flow, Iceland 2010BVol...72..449H

Beggan, C., Hamilton, C. W. New image processing software for analyzing object size-frequency distributions, geometry, orientation, and spatial distribution 2010CG.....36..539B

Harris, A. J. L., Favalli, M., Mazzarini, F., Hamilton, C. W. Construction dynamics of a lava channel 2009BVol...71..459H

Harris, A. J. L., et al. Pāhoehoe flow cooling, discharge, and coverage rates from thermal image chronometry 2007GeoRL..3419303H

Bruno, B. C., et al. Identification of volcanic rootless cones, ice mounds, and impact craters on Earth and Mars: Using spatial distribution as a remote sensing tool 2006JGRE..111.6017B