Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Charles B. Connor, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacob E. Bleacher, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rocco Malservisi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew A. Pasek, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Timothy H. Dixon, Ph.D.


Lidar remote sensing, lava flow modeling, planetary volcanology, magma delivery rate, spatial statistics


Magmatism is a dominant process on Earth and Mars that has significantly modified and evolved the lithospheres of each planet by delivering magma to shallow depths and to the surface. Two common modes of volcanism are present on both Earth and Mars: central-vent dominated volcanism that creates large edifices from concentrating magma in chambers before eruptions and distributed volcanism that creates many smaller edifices on the surface through the independent ascent of individual magmatic dikes. In regions of distributed volcanism, clusters of volcanoes develop over thousands to millions of years. This dissertation explores the geology of distributed volcanism on Earth and Mars from shallow depths (~1 km) to the surface. On long time scales, distributed volcanism emplaces magmatic sills below the surface and feeds volcanoes at the surface. The change in spatial distribution and formation rate of volcanoes over time is used to infer the evolution of the source region of magma generation. At short time scales, the emplacement of lava flows in these fields present an urgent hazard for nearby people and infrastructure. I present software that can be used to simulate lava flow inundation and show that individual computer codes can be validated using real-world flows. On Mars, distributed volcanism occurs in the Tharsis Volcanic Province, sometimes associated with larger, central-vent shield volcanoes. Two volcanic fields in this province are mapped here. The Syria Planum field is composed three major volcanic units, two of which are clusters of 10s to >100 shield volcanoes. This area had volcanic activity that spanned 900 million years, from 3.5-2.6 Ga. The Arsia Mons Caldera field is associated with a large shield volcano. Using crater age-dating and mapping stratigraphy between lava flows, activity in this field peaked at ~150 Ma and monotonically waned until 10-90 Ma, when volcanism likely ceased.