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Professional Background
Recent Research
Dr. Patrick J. McGovern

Dr. Patrick J. McGovern

Professional Background

Business Address: Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Blvd
Houston, TX 77058
Phone: 281-486-2187
Fax: 281-486-2162


S. B., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1986

Graduate work, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, UCLA, 1987–1988

Ph. D., Geophysics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1996.  Thesis title: "Studies of Large Volcanoes on the Terrestrial Planets: Implications for Stress State, Tectonics, Structural Evolution, and Moat Filling"


Research Assistant, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, September 1988-May 1996

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC, June 1996-October 1999

Staff Scientist, Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), Houston, TX, November 1999–present


Adjunct Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory ........................................................................ 2015–present

Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Earth Science, Rice University (Associate Prof. since 2009) ................................... 2004–present

Stephen E. Dwornik Student Paper Award (Best Poster Presentation), LPSC Conference .......................... 1993

Luis De Florez Award, Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT .................................................................................... 1986


Co-convener of Special Session “Volcanism Associated with Impact Basins in the Solar System” at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting.

Co-convener of Topical Session “Advances in Discontinuum Modeling in the Study of Earth Structure and Deformation” at the 2008 GSA Meeting

Guest Editor of Special Section of GRL: “The Hemispheric Dichotomy of Mars”, 2006

Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) Program Committees, 2000-2001, 2008-2009, 2011

Judge for GSA Dwornik Student Paper Award at LPSC, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2014, 2016

Numerous NASA grant program review panels: PIDDP, PG&G*, MDAP*, MFRP, OPRP*, SSW*
       (* indicates full or acting Group Chief service)


Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2016, 4th ELSI International Symposium on Three Experiments in Biological Origins: Early Earth, Venus, and Mars: “The Martian Crustal Dichotomy: an Ancient and Fundamental Feature”

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, 2015, Division of Seismology, Geology, and Tectonophysics, Geodynamics Seminar: “Olympus Mons, Mars: The Ups and Downs of the Tallest Volcano”

AGU Joint Assembly, 2015, Special Session “Surface expressions of volcanism and associated tectonism on Venus and implications for interior dynamics”: “Lithospheric Flexure, Stress, and Volcanic Edifice Morphology: A Connection for a Subset of Coronae on Venus?”


GRAIL Guest Scientist, 2012-2016

Lunar Advanced Science and Exploration Research Program (LASER) Principal Investigator, 2013–2016. Current grant: “Volcanic and thermal evolution of the Moon: constraints from advanced numerical modeling and integrated analysis of remotely sensed datasets”

Outer Planets Research Program (OPR) Principal Investigator, 2012–2016. Current grant: Copious volcanism on a compression-dominated planet? Insights into magma ascent and mountain building on Io from advanced numerical modeling

Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program (PG&G) Principal Investigator, 2005–2016. Current grant: Growth and Evolution of Large Volcanoes on Venus: Insights from Advanced Numerical Modeling of Lithospheric Response to Volcanic Loading

NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) Co-Investigator, 2009–2013. “Impact Processes in the Origin Evolution of the Moon: New Sample-driven Perspectives”

Mars Data Analysis Program (MDAP) Principal Investigator, 2002–2013. Most recent grant: Structural Characterization and Evolution of Large Volcanoes on Mars with Insights from Numerical Simulations


McGovern, P. J., M. Kirchoff, O. L. White and P. M. Schenk, Magma ascent pathways associated with large mountains on Io, Icarus, 272, 246-257, 2016.

Chadwick, J., P. McGovern, M. Simpson, and A. Reeves, Late Amazonian subsidence and magmatism of Olympus Mons, Mars, J. Geophys. Res., 120, doi:10.1002/2015JE004875, 2015.

Le Corvec, N., P. J. McGovern, E. B. Grosfils, and G. Galgana, Effects of crustal-scale mechanical layering on magma chamber failure and magma propagation within the Venusian lithosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 120, 1279–1297, doi:10.1002/2015JE004814, 2015.

Byrne, P. K., C. Klimczak, P. J. McGovern, E. Mazarico, P. B. James, G. A. Neumann, M. T. Zuber, and S. C. Solomon, Deep-seated thrust faults bound the Mare Crisium lunar mascon, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 427, 183-190, 2015.

McGovern, P. J., E. B. Grosfils, G. A. Galgana, J. K. Morgan, M. E. Rumpf, J. R. Smith, and J. R. Zimbelman, Lithospheric flexure and volcano basal boundary conditions: keys to the structural evolution of large volcanic edifices on the terrestrial planets, in Platz, T., Massironi, M., Byrne, P. K. & Hiesinger, H. (eds) Volcanism and Tectonism Across the Inner Solar System. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 401, http://dx.doi.org/10.1144/SP401.7, 2015.

Grosfils, E. B., P. J. McGovern, P. M. Gregg, G. A. Galgana, D. M. Hurwitz, S. M. Long, and S. R. Chestler, Elastic Models of Magma Reservoir Mechanics: A Key Tool for Investigating Planetary Volcanism, in Platz, T., Massironi, M., Byrne, P. K. & Hiesinger, H. (eds) Volcanism and Tectonism Across the Inner Solar System. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 401, doi:10.1144/SP401.2, 2015.

Andrews-Hanna, J. C., J. Besserer, J. W. Head III, C. J. A. Howett, W. S. Kiefer, P. J. Lucey, P. J. McGovern, H. J. Melosh, G. A. Neumann, R. J. Phillips, P. M. Schenk, D. E. Smith, S. C. Solomon, and M. T. Zuber, Structure and evolution of the lunar Procellarum region as revealed by GRAIL gravity data, Nature, 514, 68-71, 2014.

Weller, M. B., P. J. McGovern, T. Fournier, and J. K. Morgan, Eastern Olympus Mons Basal Scarp and Aureole Lobes: Structural and Mechanical Evidence for Large Scale Slope Instability, J. Geophys. Res., 119, doi:10.1002/2013JE004524, 2014.

McGovern, P. J., G. A. Galgana, K. R. Verner, and R. R. Herrick, New constraints on volcano-tectonic evolution of large edifices on Venus from stereo topography-derived strain estimates, Geology, 42, 59-62, 2014.

Öhman, T., and P. J. McGovern, Circumferential graben and the structural evolution of Alba Mons, Mars, Icarus, 233, 114-125, 2014.

McGovern, P. J., M. E. Rumpf, and J. R. Zimbelman, The influence of lithospheric flexure on magma ascent at large volcanoes on Venus, J. Geophys. Res., 118, doi:10.1002/2013JE004455, 2013.

Galgana, G. A., E. B. Grosfils, and P. J. McGovern, Radial Dike Formation on Venus: Insights from Models of Uplift, Flexure and Magmatism, Icarus, 225, 538-547, 2013.

Spudis, P. D., P. J. McGovern and W. S. Kiefer, Large shield volcanoes on the Moon, J. Geophys. Res., 118, doi:10.1002/jgre.20059, 2013.

Andrews-Hanna, J. C., S. W. Asmar, J. W. Head III, W. S. Kiefer, A. S. Konopliv, F. G. Lemoine, I. Matsuyama, E. Mazarico, P. J. McGovern, H. J. Melosh, G. A. Neumann, F. Nimmo, R. J. Phillips, D. E. Smith, S. C. Solomon, G. J. Taylor, M. A. Wieczorek, J. G. Williams, and M. T. Zuber, Ancient Igneous Intrusions and Early Expansion of the Moon revealed by GRAIL gravity gradiometry, Science, 339, 675, 2013.

Potter, R. W. K., D. A. Kring, G. S. Collins, W. S. Kiefer, and P. J. McGovern, Estimating transient crater radius using the annular crustal bulge: Insights from numerical modeling of lunar basin-scale impacts, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, doi:10.1029/2012GL052981, 2012.


P. J. McGovern, Lithospheric flexure, stress, and volcanic edifice morphology: A connection for a subset of coronae on Venus?, AGU Joint Assembly (invited), 2015.

P. J. McGovern, Formation and growth of mountains on Io: a Distinct Element Method modeling approach, 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract 2886, 2015.

P. J. McGovern, Large volcanic edifices and rises on Venus: the benefits of improved topography and gravity data, Workshop on Venus Exploration Targets, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX, 2014.

McGovern, P. J., W. S. Kiefer, G. Y. Kramer, M. T. Zuber, J. C. Andrews-Hanna and J. W. Head III, Magma ascent at lunar impact basins: Effects of lithospheric tectonic stress gradients, brittle failure, and volatile generation, 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abstract 2771, 2014.


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Last updated
April 8, 2016