National Aeronautics and
Space Administration
(Technical Sponsor)

Universities Space
Research Association
(Logistical Sponsor)

Lunar and Planetary Institute

Timothy Titus
U.S. Geological Survey

Timothy Titus
U.S. Geological Survey

Mary Bourke
Planetary Science Institute

Lori Fenton
Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute

Rose Hayward
U.S. Geological Survey

Nick Lancaster
Desert Research Institute
Briony Horgan
Arizona State University

Dave Rubin
U.S. Geological Survey

Final Announcement — April 2012

Meeting Location and Date

The Third International Planetary Dunes Workshop:  Remote Sensing and Data Analysis of Planetary Dunes will be held June 12–15, 2012, at the Lowell Observatory, 1400 West Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff AZ 86001.

The workshop will also include a one-day field trip on Wednesday, June 13, to aeolian sandstones near Page, Arizona, via motor coach with two stops along the way, and an optional field trip on Saturday, June 16, to an active dune field near Grand Falls, Arizona. More details about these field trips are provided below.

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 analogues 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 four 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 analogues and numerical models are beginning to provide new insights into martian sand dunes, as well as aeolian bedforms on other planetary bodies (e.g., Titan).

We plan to hold a workshop incorporating oral and poster presentations as well as extended discussion dispersed around a one-day field trip to study sedimentary features in the aeolian Navajo and Entrada Sandstones near Page, Arizona, on June 13, and an additional field trip to an active dune field near Grand Falls, Arizona, on June 16 (see below for more information). This year, the theme of the workshop will be Remote Sensing and Image Analysis of Planetary Dunes.

The workshop will bring together researchers with interests in planetary dunes from diverse backgrounds in image analysis, modeling, and terrestrial analogue 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 Second International Planetary Dunes Workshop held in Alamosa, Colorado, May 18–21, 2010, which brought together researchers with interests in planetary dunes from diverse backgrounds, ranging from image analysis to modeling to terrestrial analogue studies. The major advances and remaining questions identified at the second workshop have been published in Aeolian Research (DOI: 10.1016/j.aeolia.2010.09.001).

Workshop Format

Tuesday, June 12 Oral presentations and evening poster session
Wednesday, June 13 Field trip to Page via motor coach
Thursday, June 14 Oral presentations
Friday, June 15 Oral presentations; workshop will conclude at noon
Saturday, June 16   Optional field trip to Grand Falls Dune Field

The detailed program and abstracts are now available. To see where a particular presentation has been scheduled, refer to the author index provided.

Information for Presenters

Oral Presentations — A PC laptop, LCD projector, and speaker remote will be available for presentation of oral presentations during the scientific sessions. In order to facilitate a smooth transition between speakers, all presentations will be preloaded and tested in advance. To aid the preloading process, create a folder on your flash drive/CD called "DUNES 2012" and place your PowerPoint presentation in that folder. Please include your last name in the naming of your presentation file. Please arrive at least half hour ahead of your presentation to have your presentation loaded.

Poster Presentations — All posters will be available for viewing throughout the workshop.

Poster Setup: Tuesday, June 12, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Poster Removal: Thursday, June 14, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Poster Size: 44" x 44" (110 cm x 110 cm)
Materials Provided: Pushpins

Field Trips

The conference will include a full-day field trip to aeolian sandstones near Page, Arizona. We will visit outcrops that contain a broad range of aeolian structures, including the three primary aeolian stratification types (wind-ripple stratification, grainflow, and grainfall); cyclic cross-bedding deposited in winds that changed direction seasonally; deposits of an oblique linear dune with along-crest migrating superimposed dunes (resembling linear dunes in the Namib Desert); nodules interpreted to be replaced evaporites; and large-scale deformational structures. We will examine several structures that record aeolian processes that are difficult or impossible to observe on modern dunes (centuries or millenia of dune migration; rare events such as sediment liquefaction). The trip will be led by Dave Rubin (USGS), and will focus on two stops described in Rubin and Hunter (1987, Field Guide to Sedimentary Structures in the Navajo and Entrada Sandstones in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, GSA Field Trip Guidebook).

Participants should bring field gear, including a sun hat, sunscreen, drinking water, and shoes for hiking on slick rock. Bring a camera, because the sedimentary structures and scenery are photogenic.

The field trip will depart on Wednesday, June 13, at 7:30 a.m from the USGS parking lot at at 2255 N. Gemini Dr., Flagstaff AZ 86001. The trip is expected to last approximately 7–8 hours with an additional 4 hours of travel and dinner time. We will stop for dinner in Page at 6:00 p.m. Light snacks and lunch will be provided for the trip. Please pack accordingly.

NOTE ABOUT PARKING:  Please park your vehicle on the north side of the parking lot. Alternative parking is available just outside the USGS campus on Gemini Drive, or in the Buffalo Park parking lot at the end of Gemini Drive.

Additionally, an optional field trip is currently planned for Saturday, June 16, to visit the active dune field near Grand Falls, Arizona. At this location, a lava flow intersected the Little Colorado River, resulting in lava-water interactions, diverting the river, and producing a zone of sediment accumulation that acts as the source for the nearby dune field. This visually striking site provides an excellent opportunity to study direct interactions between volcanic, fluvial, and eolian processes, and the effects of sediment source on bedform composition and morphology. Depending on the specific interests of the group, the field trip will also visit other sites of geologic interest in the region. It is anticipated that this additional trip will be at no cost; however, attendees will be responsible for their own meals and transportation or carpooling arrangements.

Disclaimer:   Participants should be aware that this optional field trip is a strictly voluntary activity, and is neither organized nor endorsed by USRA/LPI or any of its representatives.

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Travel Awards

The NASA Mars Program Office has announced that travel funding will be made available for as many as four students who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, with Mars-related interests, to attend the conference. An application must be submitted by May 1, 2012, to be considered for this funding. NASA Headquarters will make the selections and students will be notified no later than May 21.

Reimbursable costs include transportation (airfare, mileage to/from airport, parking, rental car) and lodging/per diem allowance. In most cases, actual expenses will exceed the funding provided.

Note:  Students who are depending on travel assistance should not pay the registration fee or make travel arrangements until they have been notified that they have received an award. If you are requesting funds to travel to the meeting from outside the U.S., you should also wait to register until you have successfully completed NASA's foreign travel approval process. Failure to comply with this requirement may prohibit reimbursement.

Travel costs up to $750.00 will be reimbursed according to JPL/government-specified allowances. For reference, hotel/per diem rates can be found at www.gsa.gov (see per diem).

Eligibility:  Students must be U.S. citizens or legal residents. Students must be enrolled at a university at the time of the conference or the semester immediately following the conference (if during break).

Students wishing to apply for this assistance must submit the electronic student travel funding application form by May 1, 2012.


  Through May 13, 2012 May 14–May 29, 2012 Onsite
Professionals $350.00 $400.00 $450.00
Students $325.00 $350.00 $375.00
Guests $250.00 $250.00 $250.00
Field Trip Only $120.00 $120.00 $120.00

The registration fee includes lunch on June 12 and June 14. Lunch and dinner are provided on June 13, the day of the field trip excursion, because that will be a 12-hour workday.

Civil servants are reminded to reduce their per diem reimbursement request for any meals provided.

The guest registration fee includes all workshop meals and the field trip. The field trip only registration fee includes the field trip and all meals on the day of the trip.

Note:  The guest and field trip only options are only available as add-ons to a professional or student registration. Individuals cannot select either of those options as a stand-alone item when registering for the meeting.

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

Other methods of payment:  Those registering using any other method of payment (check, money order, traveler’s check, or wire transfer) must contact the LPI Meeting Registrar for detailed instructions.

Note:  We now have a third-party payment page available. Participants required to register using a third party (e.g., SATERN for NASA civil servants) may still register in advance using the electronic registration form. The confirmation e-mail you receive after registering will include payment instructions to submit to the third party. Please be aware, however, that your registration will not be considered complete until the funds have been received.

Cancellations:  Requests for cancellation with a fee refund (less a $25.00 processing fee) will only be accepted through May 29, 2012. Those who fail to attend and do not notify USRA prior to the May 29 deadline will forfeit their full fee.

Follow-On Meeting of Possible Interest

The 2012 Annual Meeting of Planetary Geologic Mappers will be held June 18–21, 2012, at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff. The first day of the meeting, Monday, June 18, the organizers will host a GIS round table, as in years past, to address any concerns with digital mapping methods. On Tuesday, June 19, colleagues from the Freie Universität Berlin will be providing a CraterStats tutorial and discussion. On the remaining two days, funded mappers as well as interested community scientists will be presenting oral and poster presentations. Registration is free but all attendees, presenting or not, are required to register by May 18 at http://bit.ly/wYA3la.


Because the meeting is being held at Lowell Observatory, and not at a hotel, no official conference hotel has been selected. Attendees are free to make hotel reservations at a hotel of their choice. Suggested hotels include the followings:

Radisson Woodlands Hotel Flagstaff
Fairfield Inn Flagstaff
La Quinta Inn and Suites Flagstaff
Holiday Inn Flagstaff


For further information regarding the format and scientific objectives of the workshop, contact

Timothy Titus
U.S. Geological Survey
Phone:  928-556-7201
E-mail:  [email protected]

For further information regarding workshop logistics, contact

Ingrid Dudley
Universities Space Research Association
Lunar and Planetary Institute
Phone:  281-486-2151
Fax:  281-486-2125
E-mail:  [email protected]

For further information regarding abstract submission or registration, contact

Linda Tanner
Universities Space Research Association
Lunar and Planetary Institute
Phone:  281-486-2142
Fax:  281-486-2125
E-mail:  [email protected]


May 13, 2012 Deadline for registration at reduced rate
June 12–15, 2012 Third International Planetary Dunes Workshop in Flagstaff, Arizona