Professor of Geology
Ph.D., Brown University
B.A., Carleton College
I am a planetary scientist, using the tools of geology, geophysics, and remote sensing to learn about the other planets in our solar system. Studying the evolution and current behavior of other planets gives us perspective on how the Earth works, and in what ways the Earth is a unique world.
I am primarily interested in geological processes on the icy satellites of the outer solar system, and I have been involved with various NASA projects such as the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Cassini mission to Saturn. Icy worlds are a fascinating venue in which to study the geological processes that can lead to biology, and I believe that our best chance for finding extraterrestrial life will come from the exploration of these worlds. I am trying to figure out what caused the deformation that we see in the grooved terrain on Ganymede, the chaotic terrain on Europa, and the fractures on Enceladus and Dione. River channels on Titan are also one of my favorite research topics. I have also investigated geological and geophysical problems on Venus, Triton, and Pluto.
I love to introduce students to the wonders of the solar system and the deep history of our own Earth. I strive to teach science as a creative process, rather than as a static set of "facts," by showing students how we know what we think we know, and how to figure out the answers on their own. I teach a diverse set of courses, including Geology, The Solar System, Remote Sensing, Astrobiology, and Geophysics.
Canoeing, cooking, cross-country skiing, board game design, hiking, and woodworking
A. Barr and G. Collins, Tectonic activity on Pluto after the Charon-forming impact, Icarus, 246, 146-155, 2015.
G. Collins, G. W. Patterson, J. Head, R. Pappalardo, L. Prockter, B. Lucchitta, and J. Kay, Global geologic map of Ganymede, United States Geological Survey Science Investigations Map Series #3237, 2013.
M. Sogin, G. Collins, A. Baker, J. Baross, A. Barr, W. Boynton, C. Cockell, M. Daly, J. Fragola, R. Lopes, K. Nealson, D. Stetson, and M. Thiemens, Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Spacecraft Missions to Icy Solar System Bodies, National Academies Press, 2012.
G. Collins, W. McKinnon, J. Moore, F. Nimmo, R. Pappalardo, L. Prockter, and P. Schenk, Tectonics of the outer planet satellites, in Planetary Tectonics, 264-350, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
G. Collins and F. Nimmo, Chaotic terrain on Europa, in Europa, 259-281, University of Arizona Press, 2009.
G. Collins and J. Goodman, Enceladus' south polar sea, Icarus, 189, 72-82, 2007.
G. Collins and T. Johnson, Ganymede and Callisto, in Encyclopedia of the Solar System (2nd ed.), 449-466, Academic Press, 2007.
G. Collins, Relative rates of fluvial bedrock incision on Titan and Earth, Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L22202, 2005.
R. Pappalardo and G. Collins, Strained craters on Ganymede, Journal of Structural Geology, 27, 827-838, 2005.
G. Collins, J. Head, R. Pappalardo, and N. Spaun, Evaluation of models for the formation of chaotic terrain of Europa, Journal of Geophysical Research, 105, 1709-1716, 2000.
G. Collins, J. Head, A. Basilevsky, and M. Ivanov, Evidence for rapid regional plains emplacement on Venus from the population of volcanically embayed impact craters, Journal of Geophysical Research, 104, 24,121-24,139, 1999.
G. Collins, J. Head, and R. Pappalardo, The role of extensional instability in creating Ganymede grooved terrain: Insights from Galileo high-resolution stereo imaging, Geophysical Research Letters, 25, 233-236, 1998.
G. Collins, J. Head, and R. Pappalardo, Formation of Ganymede grooved terrain by sequential extensional episodes: Implications of Galileo observations for regional stratigraphy, Icarus, 135, 345-359, 1998.
Lily Munsill '15: Boulder statistics on Enceladus south polar terrain
Brent Landry '14: Cassini image processing and mapping of Enceladus' south pole
Scott Tarlow '12: Strain measurement and displacement-length relationships of faults on Dione
Noemie Goff-Pochat '10: Mapping and analysis of fractures on the cratered plains of Enceladus and Dione
Dan Hill-Moses '10: Fusion of Galileo spectrometer and imaging data in GIS
Hannah di Cicco '09: Mapping and analysis of impact crater geometry on Enceladus
Louie Michaud '08: Pit chains on Enceladus; Development of strain analysis methods using Galileo data
Jon Kay '08: Rainfall and runoff on Titan; Crater classification schemes for Ganymede global geological map
Emily Martin '06: Classification of grooved terrain on Ganymede
Jennifer Savage '06: Geological mapping of Ganymede
Rachel Fontaine '04: Reconstructing the geometry of ancient impact basins on Ganymede and Callisto
Jon McBee '04 and Dan Hartmann '04: New techniques for measuring strain across ridges on Europa
Dan Hartmann '04 and Matt Blake '04: Morphology and mapping of chaotic terrain on Europa
Jon McBee '04: Time sequence analysis of groove formation in Sippar Sulcus and the leading hemisphere of Ganymede
Karrie-Sue Farrar '03: GIS database of craters and impact basins on Ganymede