Edmonton Geological Society
A Section of the Geological Association of Canada


Grant MacEwan Talk - Rock-Rubble-Rock: Planetary Regolith Formation and Evolution

  • 13 Oct 2015
  • 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
  • MacEwan University room 5-205 which is on the second floor of building 5 - the brick building on the corner of 104 Ave and 105 Street


Presentation Overview:

Unlike Earth’s surface, the uppermost crusts of the Moon, Mercury and, to a lesser extent, Mars and Venus, comprise a layer of loose, disaggregated rock called regolith. Regolith is formed by continual pummeling of the outer surface of a planetary body by hypervelocity collision with asteroids and comets. Most of these collisions, including the larger events, occurred before about 3.8 billion years ago. The Earth is a dynamic planet, whereby the movement of tectonic plates and other geologic processes have erased evidence of this period of early Solar System history. Understanding these processes on other planetary bodies that have ancient crusts such as the Moon and Mars is important for understanding how the Earth has evolved through time. In this lecture we will discuss the process of regolith formation and its evolution, including how new rocks are made from rubble, and how this occurs. Specific examples will be given from the Moon, whose surface is covered with a fine powdery material, the so-called lunar regolith.

Presenter’s Biography: John Spray is Director of the Planetary and Space Science Centre at the University of New Brunswick. Dr. Spray received his BSc in Geology from Cardiff (Wales) and his PhD in Earth Sciences from Cambridge University (England). He joined the faculty at the University of New Brunswick in 1986 where he now holds the Canada Research Chair in Extreme Deformation and Planetary Materials. He is co-investigator on science teams for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory and the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover missions.
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