PTYS/LPL Faculty

Christopher Hamilton

Assistant Professor
Planetary surfaces, Volcanology, Astrobiology
Ph.D., 2010, University of Hawaii

Kuiper 430

Years with LPL: 2014 to present


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, and explosive eruptions using a combination of field observations, remote sensing, geospatial analysis, machine learning, and geophysical modeling. These topics provide insight into the evolution of planetary interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres through magma production, ascent, and volcanism.

Current Grants

  • "Lunar impact melt flows: Geological mapping, experimental simulation, and numerical modeling" NASA Solar System Workings Program (PI)
  • “Precision geodetic constraints for terrestrial analog studies of planetary surface processes” NASA Early Career Fellowship Program (PI)
  • "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)
  • "Quantitative studies of lava flows and explosive volcanic eruption plumes on planetary bodies" NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program (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)

Former Spacecraft Involvement

  • Io Volcano Observer (IVO): A proposed mission to the NASA Discovery Program (Co-I and HOTMAP Instrument Science Lead)

Current PTYS Graduate Students

Student Collaborations/Advising

Former Students

  • Jade Bowers, Undergraduate Honors Student (Geosciences)
  • Connor Williams (College of Engineering)

Former Postdocs

  • Leon Palafox
  • Stephen Scheidt
  • Michael Sori

Current Staff Scientists

  • Stephen Scheidt
  • Michael Sori

Former Staff Scientists

  • Leon Palafox


Complete publications list available from: NASA ADS Author Search: Christopher Hamilton

Refereed publications (NASA ADS): Calendar Year 2016 through July 2018

Voigt, J. R. C., Hamilton, C. W. Investigating the volcanic versus aqueous origin of the surficial deposits in Eastern Elysium Planitia, Mars 2018Icar..309..389V

Stadermann, A. C., Zanetti, M. R., Jolliff, B. L., Hiesinger, H., van der Bogert, C. H., Hamilton, C. W. The age of lunar mare basalts south of the Aristarchus Plateau and effects of secondary craters formed by the Aristarchus event 2018Icar..309...45S

Sori, M. M., Byrne, S., Bland, M. T., Bramson, A. M., Ermakov, A. I., Hamilton, C. W., Otto, K. A., Ruesch, O., Russell, C. T.  The vanishing cryovolcanoes of Ceres 2017GeoRL..44.1243S

Neish, C. D., Hamilton, C. W., Hughes, S. S., Nawotniak, S. K., Garry, W. B., Skok, J. R., Elphic, R. C., Schaefer, E., Carter, L. M., Bandfield, J. L., Osinski, G. R., Lim, D., Heldmann, J. L.  Terrestrial analogues for lunar impact melt flows 2017Icar..281...73N

Sori, M. M., Byrne, S., Hamilton, C. W., Landis, M. E.  Viscous flow rates of icy topography on the north polar layered deposits of Mars 2016GeoRL..43..541S

Available filesSizeCreated
PDF icon Hamilton.pdf132.41 KBJune 21, 2016
PDF icon Hamilton_long.pdf255.92 KBJune 21, 2016
Semester Course Day/Time Location Resources
Fall 2017 PTYS 170A1-001 Syllabus
Course Page
Fall 2017 PTYS 594A-001 F 4:00-5:00pm Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Course Page
Fall 2017 PTYS 595B-001 F 2:00-4:00pm Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Course Page
Spring 2018 PTYS 411-001 TTH 2:00 - 3:15PM Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Course Page
Fall 2018 PTYS 594A-001 F 4:00-5:00pm Kuiper 312, Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Course Page
Fall 2019 PTYS 594A-001 F 3:00-5:00pm Kuiper 312 Course Page
Spring 2020 PTYS 411-001
Fall 2020 PTYS 594A-001 F 3:00-5:00pm Kuiper 312 Course Page

Last updated on May 7, 2018