Workshop on Modeling Martian Hydrous Environments  June1-2, 2009  Houston Texas




Lunar and Planetary Institute
National Aeronautics and
   Space Administration

Susanne Schwenzer,
   Lunar and Planetary Institute
David Kring,
   Lunar and Planetary Institute
Stephen Clifford,
   Lunar and Planetary Institute

Scientific Organizing Committee
Oleg Abramov,
   University of Colorado
Jean-Pierre Bibring,
   Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale
Allan Treiman,
  Lunar and Planetary Institute
David Vaniman,
  Los Alamos National Laboratory
Mikhail Zolotov,
  Arizona State University






The Workshop on Modeling Martian Hydrous Environments will be held June 1–3, 2009, at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), located in the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) building, 3600 Bay Area Boulevard, Houston, Texas.


June 1–3 , 2009
Houston, Texas


Forty years of investigations by many spacecraft have provided abundant evidence for the existence of water on Mars. Beyond well-known geomorphological evidence, recent orbiter and lander investigations have revealed chemical and data that point to past aqueous environments, and the number of detected aqueous-alteration related minerals is growing.

The variety of these minerals, and the potential processes that formed them, are broad. Oxides, hydroxides, salts, and phyllosilicates can be produced by processes ranging from evaporation and weathering to hydrothermal alteration caused by volcanic or impact events. These processes may have occurred under various conditions of water flow, water/rock ratios, pH, redox conditions, and temperature. Therefore, secondary minerals could provide insights on the processes that formed them at different times in Mars history.

To uncover those details, the Mars community has attacked the problem with a variety of techniques:  numerical modeling, laboratory experiments, spacecraft observations, and analyses of martian meteorites. Computer modeling has proven to be an invaluable tool in constraining the environmental conditions under which observed minerals and chemical patterns formed. To help integrate those different techniques, this workshop is aimed at bringing together martian mineralogists, geochemists, and other interested scientists to discuss the mineralogical and chemical evidence for hydrous environments and the potential insights into their nature that numerical modeling, laboratory experiments, theory, and spacecraft data analysis can provide. There will be a special focus on modeling techniques and any additional data needed to improve them, because they are beginning to provide the interpretative framework for recent spacecraft observations.


Two basic types of questions are answered by the application of models:  temperature and fluid flow (i.e., water availability, water/rock ratio) on one hand and chemical reactions on the other. The focus of this workshop is on the chemical part of the modeling. Nevertheless, we encourage contributions that support the description of hydrous environments from a physical perspective. A third important piece of this work is fundamental experimental data that are needed for the databases of the codes. The purpose of this workshop therefore is

  • to present numerical models and their capabilities,
  • to present and discuss experimental work that expands databases, and
  • to report research done by applying numerical models to martian research.

Because the success of that modeling depends on its integration with observations on the surface of Mars, an additional purpose of the workshop will be

  • to link the theoretical and experimental models with results from ongoing orbiter and lander missions.

We encourage the demonstration of well-established models as well as presentations of new codes that are being developed. Research examples may cover Mars as well as terrestrial analog sites, providing a comparison that should illustrate similarities and differences in the thermochemical conditions on the two planets. Beyond application of the numerical models to hydrous environments, we also encourage participants to present experimental studies that offer additional insights into the environments or provide input for future models. Collectively, we expect that these presentations will provide a better understanding of the origin of the mineralogical diversity that is now being revealed by the Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions.


The workshop will be three days, with most of the time filled by contributed talks and posters. Each session will be opened by an invited talk that will be designed to review the most recent accomplishments of the respective field and set the stage for the following presentations and discussions of individual research topics. About half a day will be reserved to demonstrate and discuss computer models and their applications in small groups. Special emphasis will be on a poster session. In addition to standard poster formats, a limited number of tables will be available for computer-based presentations.

The meeting organizers are considering having a social event on Sunday evening, May 31. Please indicate on the registration form if you would be interested in attending.

The workshop program with abstracts is now available.


To encourage student participation, NASA is providing support for students to attend the workshop. The award is aimed at students who are currently working in fields that may lead them into martian research and who have a strong interest in martian hydrology and/or mineralogy, as well as lander and orbiter observations. For more information, please see the NASA Student Travel Support document.



Through May 7, 2009 $150.00 Professional / $100.00 Student
May 8–May 31, 2009 $175.00 Professional / $125.00 Student
After May 31, 2009 Onsite Registration Only
$200.00 Professional / $150.00 Student

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, or traveler’s check) must use the downloadable registration form.

Cancellations:  A $25.00 cancellation fee will be charged on any cancellations received before May 15, 2009. No refunds will be given after May 15.




Participants are responsible for making their own travel and hotel reservations. For your convenience, a list of local hotels and a local area map showing their locations are provided.


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

Susanne Schwenzer
Lunar and Planetary Institute
phone: 281-486-2114

For further information regarding workshop logistics, please contact

Kimberly Taylor
Lunar and Planetary Institute
phone:  281-486-2151

For questions regarding workshop registration, please contact

Linda Tanner
Lunar and Planetary Institute
phone:  281-486-2142

May 7, 2009
Deadline for registration at reduced rate
June 1–3, 2009
Workshop on Modeling Martian Hydrous Environments
in Houston, Texas


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