Vicki Hansen


McKnight Presidential Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences

I am a structural geologist/tectonisist with interests in large scale tectonic processes of planetary bodies. Some of the regional field areas on Earth that I have worked on include: the western U.S., Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, and Antarctica. Over the last 10-15 years my students and I have concentrated on mapping large regions of Venus, commonly with emphasis on tectonic and magmatic processes. The goal is to interpret geologic relations at all scales, and decipher local, regional, and global scale geological histories in order to understand Venus' evolution and dynamic processes through time. Specific topics on Venus include: crustal plateau formation and implications for Venus evolution, deformation belt formation, coronae evolution, circular low formation, Venus resurfacing (evidence does NOT support catastrophic resurfacing of Venus contrary to popular views), lowland processes, and tessera-terrain evolution. My students and I have been involved in 1:5 million scale mapping of eight VMaps (30°x25°) for publication through the USGS, and we have recently begun 1:10 million scale mapping of two quadrangles (each 120° x 57°).



Kevin Thaisen


Post-doctoral research associate




My research can best be described as comparative planetary geology.  I study the processes that influence the surfaces of the terrestrial planets. This includes impact cratering, volcanism, glacial, fluvial, and aeolian features, structural modification through tectonic processes, and composition. Most of my work is done with remotely sensed data from a variety of orbiting spacecraft, landers, and rovers, and incorporated into a geographic information system (GIS) to aid in understanding relationships between multiple datasets.


My work has included the Moon, Mars, meteorites, diamond exploration, and now I'm getting the opportunity to work on Venus.  I am also very interested in in-situ resource utilization and the potential it holds for human space exploration, and in developing programs for public outreach.




Current Graduate Students


Jon Dyess Ph.D candidate - Research/Teaching Assistant

Dissertation Title: Structural and Kinematic Analysis of the Shagawa Lake Shear Zone and Snowbank Lake Stock, Superior Province, NE Minnesota.





Aaron Slonecker M.S. candidate

Thesis Title: Geologic and Structural Mapping of Northern Tellus Regio, Venus.





Recent Graduate Students



Melanie Graupner

MS Thesis: Geologic and Structural Mapping of Southern Tellus Regio, Venus.




Current position: Visiting instructor, Univeristy of Mississippi, Geology and Geological Engineering



                          (See the Contibutions page for links to student theses and dissertations)


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