Sponsored by

Convener Science Organizing Committee

Meeting Location and Dates

The Second International Planetary Dunes Workshop: Planetary Analogs — Integrating Models, Remote Sensing, and Field Data will be held May 18–21, 2010, at the Inn of the Rio Grande in Alamosa, Colorado. The workshop will also include a one day field trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park

Purpose And Scope

Landforms and deposits created by the dynamic interactions between granular material and airflow (aeolian processes) occur on several planetary bodies, including Earth, Mars, Titan, and Venus. The recognition of landforms on other planetary bodies requires use of terrestrial analogs in a well-established methodology for interpretation of landforms observed on orbital and lander images of other planetary bodies. Based on the paradigm that morphologically similar landforms are formed in essentially the same manner on different planetary surfaces, this approach can indicate the types of surface processes and environments that occur on an unfamiliar landscape, provided that the fundamentals of the landforms and processes are well-understood on Earth.

Dunes and other aeolian bedforms are a prominent part of landscapes shaped by wind action on several planetary bodies in our solar system. Despite the three decades of study of these features, many questions regarding their composition and sediment sources, morphology, age and origins, and dynamics under present and past climatic conditions remain poorly understood. Recently acquired data from orbiters and rovers together with innovative approaches using terrestrial analogs and numerical models are beginning to provide new insights into martian sand dunes, as well as aeolian bedforms on other terrestrial planetary bodies (e.g., Titan).

The workshop will incorporate oral and poster presentations as well as extended discussion dispersed around a one-day field trip to dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park on May 19, 2010. The workshop will bring together researchers with interests in planetary dunes from diverse backgrounds in image analysis, modeling, and terrestrial analog studies. A small group setting will facilitate intensive discussion of problems and issues in an attempt to identify the most promising approaches to understanding these dune systems and to develop a collaborative interdisciplinary research agenda.

This workshop follows on from the very successful Planetary Dunes Workshop held in Alamogordo, New Mexico, on April 28–May 2, 2008, which brought together researchers with interests in planetary dunes from diverse backgrounds, ranging from image analysis to modeling to terrestrial analog studies.

Workshop Format

Tuesday, May 18 Oral presentations and evening poster session
Wednesday, May 19 Field trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park
Thursday, May 20 Oral presentations
Friday, May 21 Oral presentations; workshop will conclude at noon

The program and abstracts are now available. Presenters should check the author index to see when their presentation has been scheduled.

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations are scheduled to allow 15 minutes for speaking and 15 minutes for discussion. Discussion will be encouraged during and after each presentation. To maximize discussion time and keep the meeting on schedule, presenters should limit their presentations to 20 slides or less. Audio-visual equipment will include an LCD projector and a Sony Vaio PC laptop computer equipped with the following software: Windows XP operating system, Microsoft PowerPoint 2003, and Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0. You may bring your presentation on a CD-ROM or USB memory drive to use with the meeting room PC, or you may connect your own laptop computer to the LCD projector for your presentation.

Poster Presentations

A dedicated poster session is scheduled on Tuesday evening, May 18. Authors must be present to discuss their posters at the session. Posters will remain on display throughout the workshop. Each poster display space is 44" × 44". Posters should be designed to attach to the panel with push pins, which will be provided.

Great Sand Dunes Field Trip

The Great Sand Dunes is a complex aeolian system of limited extent where a variety of aeolian features can be observed. Sand deposits such as an inland sabkha, sand sheet, dunefield, and sand ramps have developed along the topographic gradient from the valley center to the Sangre de Cristo mountain front. Dune types are also variable and include types that are self-organizing and migratory, self-organizing and vertically growing, and those that form in response to vegetation and topography. The complexity of the system is the result of the interaction of various controlling factors. The field trip will explore each type of sand deposit and attempt to explain the important factor that leads to its development as well as allow for discussion by the participants.

The field trip will leave from the Inn of the Rio Grande early morning on May 19, and travel to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Stop one will be in the playa lake area, which is believed to be the source of the sand and where the aeolian system begins. Stop two will be at the dunefield of Great Sand Dunes National Park and the morning will be spent exploring the aeolian features of the tallest dunes in North America. This stop will include moderate to strenuous hikes on the dunes. Lunch will be at the end of stop two. The afternoon will be spent traveling to the north end of the aeolian system to stop three, the Crestone Crater. A preliminary study of the crater concluded that it was not an impact crater, but there are historic accounts of a meteorite hitting the area and it would be worthwhile for the group to see it. The crater is in a sand sheet deposit and is stabilized by vegetation. Access to the crater will involve a one-mile hike with four-wheel drive shuttle available to offer assistance to those wanting it. After stop three the field trip will travel 1.5 hours back to the Inn of the Rio Grande, arriving at approximately 5:00 p.m. The cost of the field trip is included in the registration fee.

Participants should be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. May is generally pleasant, but it can be cold enough to snow. Dressing in layers and wearing over-the-ankle hiking boots are recommended.

Public Lecture

The Colorado Field Institute will host a public lecture at the Adams State College on Thursday, May 20, at 7:00 p.m. Jim Zimbelman will present the talk, entitled “Sand Dunes on Mars, and Their Terrestrial Brothers.” It will be held in Room 130 of Porter Hall, at Adams State College, approximately 2 miles from the Inn of the Rio Grande. Please refer to the map for directions to Porter Hall.


A registration fee will be assessed each participant to cover meeting costs including field trip transportation, daily lunches and breaks, and an evening poster session reception. The registration fee schedule is as follows:

Through April 19, 2010 $300.00 professionals / $225.00 students
April 20–May 5, 2010 $325.00 professionals / $250.00 students
May 6–18, 2010 $350.00 professionals / $275.00 students

Credit card registrations:  Participants registering by credit card must use the secure electronic registration form.

Other methods of payment:  Those registering using any method of payment (check, money order, or traveler’s checks) must use the downloadable registration form.

Cancellations:  A $25.00 cancellation fee will be charged on any cancellations received before May 5, 2010. No refunds will be given after May 5.


A block of rooms has been reserved at the host hotel, the Inn of the Rio Grande Hotel, 333 Santa Fe Avenue, Alamosa, Colorado, at the rate of $70.00/night plus tax for single occupancy. Your accommodation includes a complimentary daily deluxe hot breakfast served in Clancy’s Restaurant, which is located in the hotel.

Room Reservations —
Reservations may be made by calling 800-669-1658.
Specify the group name: Universities Space Research Association
group code: Lunar

All reservations must be guaranteed with a credit card. A credit card must be presented at the time of check-in for room charges, tax, and incidental charges. The deadline to receive the $70.00 group rate is April 16, 2010.


The closest major airports to Alamosa are the Colorado Springs Airport(COS) (~163 miles), Denver International Airport (DEN) (~212 miles), and Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) (~205 miles).

There are limited flights available from the Denver International Airport to the Alamosa County, Colorado Airport (ALS).

Participants who wish to ride share from an airport to Alamosa can post a message on the ride share message board. Driving directions and shuttle service details can be found on the airport’s web pages referenced above.


For further information regarding the format and scientific objectives of the meeting, contact
Timothy Titus
U.S. Geological Survey
Phone:  928-556-7201
E-mail:  [email protected]

For further information regarding workshop logistics, announcements, and accommodations, contact
Kimberly Taylor
Lunar and Planetary Institute
Phone:  281-486-2151
E-mail:  [email protected]

For further information regarding registration, contact
Linda Tanner
Lunar and Planetary Institute
Phone:  281-486-2142
E-mail:  [email protected]


April 16, 2010  Deadline for hotel reservation at special rate
April 19, 2010 Deadline for registration at reduced rate
May 18–21, 2010 Second International Planetary Dunes Workshop in Alamosa, Colorado

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