Students & Staff

Mario Parente

Ph.D. candidate, Electrical Engineering Department, Stanford University


Nancy McKeown

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Planetary Geology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

My main research focus is the identification and mapping of clay minerals at Mawrth Vallis, Mars using imaging spectroscopy and high-resolution satellite photography. The clays at Mawrth Vallis are separated into two primary units: a nontronite-bearing unit that is unconformably overlain by an Al-phyllosilicate-bearing unit compose of montmorillonite, hydrated silica, and kaolinite. These clays likely formed through alteration of ash-fall deposits, through sedimentary deposition in a marine or lacustrine environment, through pedogenesis, or some combination of these. The identification and mapping of these clay units has given us crucial insight into Mars’ past climate.


  • McKeown N.K., Bishop J.L., Noe Dobrea E.Z., Parente M., Ehlmann B.L., Mustard J.F., Murchie S.L., Bibring J.-P. & Silver E. (2009a) Characterization of phyllosilicates observed in the central Mawrth Vallis region, Mars, their potential formational processes, and implications for past climate. Journal of Geophysical Research, in press.

Conference Presentations:

  • McKeown N.K., Bishop J.L., Cuadros J., Amador E. & Silver E. (2008a) Characterization of phyllosilicate units at Mawrth Vallis: comparison of CRISM observations and intimate phyllosilicate mixtures. First Workshop on Martian Phyllosilicates: Recorders of Aqueous Processes, Abstract #7033.
  • McKeown N.K., Bishop J.L., Noe Dobrea E.Z., Parente M., Ehlmann B.L., Mustard J.F., Murchie S.L., Bibring J. & Silver E. (2008b) Phyllosilicates in Mawrth Vallis: Implications for a Past Aqueous Environment. First Workshop on Martrian Phyllosilicates: Recorders of Aqueous Processes. Paris, abs. #
  • McKeown N.K., Bishop J.L., Noe Dobrea E.Z., Ehlmann B.L., Michalski J.R., Mustard J.F., Murchie S.L., Silver E., Bibring J.-P. & Poulet F. (2008c) The distribution of phyllosilicates in Mawrth Vallis as seen by CRISM. Lunar Planet Science Conf, abstract #1400.
  • McKeown N.K., Noe Dobrea E.Z., Bishop J.L. & Silver E.A. (2009b) Coordinated lab, field, and aerial study of the Painted Desert, AZ, as a potential analog site for phyllosilicates at Mawrth Vallis, Mars. Lunar Planet Science Conf., abs. #2509.
  • McKeown N.K., Bishop J.L., Wray J.J., Noe Dobrea E.Z. & Silver E.A. (2009c) Textures and morphologies of phyllosilicate-bearing units at Mawrth Vallis. Lunar Planet Science Conf., abs. # 2433.
  • McKeown N.K., Bishop J.L., Noe Dobrea E. & Silver E. (2009d) Characteristics of clay units in the Mawrth Vallis region, Mars. International Clay Conference. Castellaneta Marina, Italy, abs. #.

Heather Makarewicz

M.S. candidate, Mathematics Department, University of KansasResearch Statements:

  • Developing & Automatically Generating Mathematical Models of Mineral spectra
  • Automatically Classifying Minerals & Creating Mineral Maps
  • Statistics, Planetary Science, Computer Science, Numerical Methods

Conference Presentations:

  • Makarewicz H.D., Parente M. & Bishop J.L. (2008) Characterizing Mafic and Clay Components in Libya Montes, Mars, using Automated Gaussian. Modeling of Spectral Features found in MRO/CRISM Images Eos Trans. AGU, 89, AGU Fall Meeting, Abstract #P41B1378M.
  • Makarewicz H.D., Parente M. & Bishop J.L. (2009a) Determining the composition of phyllosilicates using automated Gaussian modeling of spectral features. Lunar Planet Science Conf abs # 1358.
  • Makarewicz H.D., Parente M. & Bishop J.L. (2009a) Deconvolution of VNIR Spectra Using Modified Gaussian Modeling (MGM) with Automatic Parameter Initialization (API) Applied to CRISM. IEEE Whispers.