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Devon M. BurrDevon M. Burr

Associate Professor
Planetary Science

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
1412 Circle Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-1410

Phone: (865) 974-6010
Devon Burr's CV

My research in planetary science is in the field of planetary geomorphology.  I specialize in how various processes may have shaped planetary surfaces and what those surface shapes can tell us about the geologic history of that body.  In this work, I use analysis of spacecraft images, field work on terrestrial analogues, and experiments.

Much of my work has explored water-formed features on Mars.  Early work focused on young flood channels on Mars and their bedforms, using similar bedforms found in the Channeled Scabland and Icelandic flood channels to constrain the Martian flood flow conditions.  From this basis, I became interested in ground ice features, working with Canadian and Alaskan colleagues to assess the distribution of pingos on Mars.  Current research includes the mapping and characterization of Mars' largest population of sinuous ridges – inverted fluvial deposits – , using terrestrial inverted fluvial channels as analogues. 

I'm also interested in Titan, the surprisingly Earth-like moon of Saturn.  Titan has fluvial and alluvial features, as on Earth, and one Titan projects involved analysis of data from the Cassini mission to the Saturnian system to map and characterize those fluvial features on Titan.  Click HERE to download a zipped file of these ArcGIS data as published in Burr et al. (2013) Icarus.  A developing project is the analysis of putative alluvial fans on Titan and their mechanisms of formation. 

The other Titan project entails the refurbishment and use of the Titan Wind Tunnel in NASA's Planetary Aeolian Laboratory to determine the atmospheric conditions and wind speeds responsible for Titan's vast aeolian dunes.  This work has shown some interesting differences between model predictions and experimental results for threshold wind speeds under dense atmospheric conditions.

EPS Planetary Geomorphology group (left to right): (backrow) Emily Nield, Samantha Peel, Anthony Maue, Rose Borden, Ariana Boyd, (front row) Devon Burr, Richard Cartwright, Robert Jacobsen, Keenan Golder, Stephen Sutton

Ph.D. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.  (2003)

  • Dissertation title: Investigations into young outflow channels on Mars
  • Major: Geosciences (advisor: Victor Baker)
  • Minor: Planetary Sciences (advisor: Alfred McEwen)

M.S. University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA. (1998)

  • Geology

M.A. St. John's College, Santa Fe, NM. (1996)

  • Liberal Arts Classical and Modern Philosophy

B.S. United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. (1989), Distinguished graduate

  • Political Science (Honors Program)


Journal Articles

GS denotes graduate student, UG denotes undergraduate student, and PD denotes postdoctoral research under my supervision


  • Burr, D.M. (2017) Defining the topography of a planetary body, Science 356 (6339), 708, 10.1126/science.aan2719
  • DameronGS, A.C. and D. M. Burr, Europan double ridge morphometry as a test for models formation, Icarus, submitted.
  • JacobsenGS, R.E. and D. M. Burr, The Aeolis Dorsa, Mars, analyzed with insights from terrestrial analog deposits, encapsulate a history of decreasing hydrologic activity, Geosphere, under revision.
  • Méndez-HarperGS, J., G. McDonaldGS, J. Dufek, M. Malaska, D. Burr, A. Hayes, J McAdams, and J. Wray (2017) The Electrified Sands of Titan.  Nature Geo. 10.1038/NGEO2921.


  • Jacobsen, R.E.GS and D. M. Burr (2016), Greater contrast in Martian hydrological history from more accurate estimates of paleodischarge, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 10.1002/2016GL070535
  • CartwrightGS, R. J. and D. M. Burr, Using Synthetic Aperture Radar data of terrestrial analogs to test for alluvial fan formation mechanisms on Titan, Icarus, 284, 183-205, 10.1016/j.icarus.2016.11.013.
  • BeddingfieldGS, C. B., D. M. Burr, and L. Tran (2016) Polygonal impact craters on Dione: Evidence for tectonic structures outside the Wispy Terrain, Icarus, 274, 163-194, 10.1016/j.icarus.2016.03.020.


  • BeddingfieldGS, C. B., D. M. Burr, and W. M. Dunne (2015), Shallow normal fault slopes on Saturnian icy satellites, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 120, 2053–2083, 10.1002/2015JE004852.
  • Burr, D. M., N. T. Bridges, J. K. Smith, J. R. Marshall, B. R. White, and D. W. Williams (2015) The Titan Wind Tunnel: a new tool for investigating extraterrestrial aeolian environments.  Aeolian Res. 205-214, 10.1016/j.aeolia.2015.07.008.
  • Baker, V. R., C. Hamilton, D. M. Burr, V. Gulick, G. Komatsu, W. Luo, J.W. Rice, J.A.P. Rodriguez (2105) Fluvial geomorphology of Earth-like planetary surfaces: a review. Geomorphology, 245, 149-182, 10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.05.002
  • Burr, D. M., A. D. Howard (2015) Introduction to the special issue: Planetary geomorphology.  Geomorphology., 240, 1-7, 10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.11.015.
  • Lefort, A., D. M. Burr, F. Nimmo and R. E. JacobsenGS (2015) Channel slope reversal near the Martian dichotomy boundary: testing tectonic hypotheses.  Geomorphology, 240, 121-136, 10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.09.028.
  • Matsubara,Y., A. D. Howard, D. M. Burr, R. M. E. Williams, W. E. Dietrich, J. M. Moore (2015) River meandering on Earth and Mars: A comparative study of Aeolis Dorsa meanders, Mars and possible terrestrial analogs of the Usuktuk River, AK, and the Quinn River, NV.  Geomorphology, 240, 102-120, 10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.08.031.
  • Burr, D. M., N. T. Bridges, J. R. Marshall, J. K. Smith, B. R. White, J. P. Emery (2015)  Higher-than-predicted saltation thresholds on Titan.  Nature 517, 60-66, 10.1038/nature14088.
  • BeddingfieldGS, C.B., D. M. Burr, and J. P. Emery (2015) Fault geometries on Uranus' satellite Miranda: Implications for internal structure and heat flow.  Icarus 247, 35-52, 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.09.048.


  • MorganGS, A. M., Howard, A. D., Hobley, D. E. J., Moore, J. M., Dietrich, W. E., Williams, R. M. E., Burr, D. M., Grant, J. A., WilsonGS, S. A., MatsubaraGS, Y. (2014) Sedimentology and climatic environment of alluvial fans in the martian Saheki crater and a comparison with terrestrial fans in the Atacama Desert.  Icarus 229, 131-156, 10.1016/j.icarus.2013.11.007
  • Chojnacki *, M., D. M. Burr, J. E. Moersch and J. J. Wray (2014) Valles Marineris dune sediment provenance and pathways.  Icarus 232, 187-219, 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.01.011.
  • Chojnacki *, M., D. M. Burr and J. E. Moersch (2014) Valles Marineris dune fields as compared with other Martian populations: diversity of dune compositions, morphologies, and thermophysical properties.  Icarus 230, 96-142, 10.1016/j.icarus.2013.08.018.


  • Burr, D. M., S. A. DrummondGS, R. CartwrightGS, B .A. BlackGS, and J. T. Perron (2013) Morphology of fluvial networks on Titan: evidence for structural control.  Icarus 226, 742-759 10.1016/j.icarus.2013.06.016.
  • Williams, R. M. E., R. P. Irwin, D. M. Burr, T. Harrison, P. McClelland (2013) Variability in martian sinuous ridge form: Case study of Aeolis Serpens in the Aeolis Dorsa, Mars, and insight from the Mirackina paleoriver, South Australia.  Icarus 225, 308-324, 10.1016/j.icarus.2013.03.016.
  • Fenton, L. K., R. K. Hayward, B. H. N. Horgan, R. M. Rubin, T. N. Titus, M. A. Bishop, D. M. Burr, M. ChojnackiGS, C. L. Dinwiddie, L. Kerber, A. LeGall, T. I. Michaels, L. D.V.Neakrase, C. E. Newman, D. Tirsch, H. Yizhaq, J.R. Zimbelman (2013) Summary of the Third International Planetary Dunes Workshop: Remote Sensing and Image Analysis of Planetary Dunes, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA, June 12–15, 2012.  Aeolian Research 8, 29-38, 10.1016/j.aeolia.2012.10.006.
  • Burr, D. M., J. T. Perron, M. P. Lamb, R. P. Irwin, G. C. Collins, A. D. Howard, L. S. Sklar, J. M. Moore, M. Ádámkovics, V. R. Baker, S. A. DrummondGS, and B. A. BlackGS (2013) Fluvial features on Titan: insights from morphology and modeling.  Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., doi: 10.1130/B30612.1


  • BlackGS, B. A., Perron, J. T., Burr, D. M., and DrummondGS, S. A (2012) Estimating erosional exhumation on Titan from drainage network morphology. J. Geophys. Res., 117, E08006, 10.1029/2012JE004085.
  • Lefort, A.PD, D.M. Burr, R.A. Beyer, and A.D. Howard (2012) Inverted fluvial features in the Aeolis–Zephyria Plana, Western Medusae Fossae Formation, Mars: evidence for post-formation modification.  J. Geophys. Res.-Planets, 117, E03007, 10.1029/2011JE004008.
  • Barnes, J. W., L. Lemke, R. Foch, C. P. McKay, R. A. Beyer, J. Radebaugh, D. H. Atkinson, R. D. Lorenz, S. Le Mouélic, S. Rodriguez, J. Gundlach, F. Giannini, S. Bain, F. M. Flasar,  T. Hurford, C. M. Anderson, J. Merrison, M. Ádámkovics, S. A. Kattenhorn,  J. Mitchell, D. M. Burr, A..Colaprete, E. Schaller, A. J. Friedson, K.S. Edgett, A. Coradini, A. Adriani, K. M. Sayanagi,  M. J. Malaska, D. Morabito, K. Reh (2012) AVIATR – Aerial Vehicle for In-Situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance, A Titan Airplane Mission Concept, Exp. Astron., 10.1007/s10686-011-9275-9.


  • Chojnacki, M.GS, D. M. Burr, J. E. Moersch and T. I. Michaels (2011) Orbital observations of contemporary dune activity in Endeavour Crater, Meridiani Planum, Mars.  J. Geophys. Res., 116, E00F19, 10.1029/2010JE003675.
  • Burr, D. M. (2011) Sedimentology in a reduced-gravity environment: Submarine analogs for streamlined forms on Mars.  Geology, July 2011, v. 39, no. 7, p. 703–704; 10.1130/focus072011.1. INVITED.
  • Emery, J.P., D. M. Burr, and D. P Cruikshank (2011) Near-infrared spectroscopy of Trojan asteroids: evidence for two compositional groups. Astronomical J. 141: 25 (18 pp), 10.1088/0004-6256/141/1/25.


  • Burr, D. M., R. M. E. Williams, K. D. WendellUG, M. ChojnackiGS, and J. P. Emery (2010) Inverted fluvial features in the Aeolis/Zephyria Plana region, Mars: Formation mechanism and initial paleodischarge estimates, J. Geophys. Res., 115, E07011, 10.1029/2009JE003496.
  • Chojnacki, M.GS, J. E. Moersch, and D. M. Burr (2010) Climbing and falling dunes in Valles Marineris, Mars.  Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L08201, doi: 10.1029/2009GL042263.
  • Burr, D. M., (2010) Palaeoflood-generating mechanisms on Earth, Mars, and Titan. Global and Planetary Change, 70, 5–13 (Special Issue, J. Woodward, P. Brewer, M. Macklin and S. Tooth, eds) 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2009.11.003


  • Burr, D. M., R. E. JacobsenUG, D. L. RothUG, C. B. Phillips, K. L. Mitchell, D. ViolaUG (2009) Fluvial network analysis on Titan: evidence for subsurface structures and west-to-east wind flow, southwestern Xanadu, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L22203, doi: 10.1029/2009GL040909.
  • Burr, D. M., M-T. EngaUG, R. M. E. Williams, J. R. Zimbelman, A. D. Howard, T. A. Brennand (2009) Pervasive aqueous paleoflow features near the equator, Mars.  Icarus, 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.10.014.
  • Burr, D. M., K. L. Tanaka, and K. Yoshikawa (2009) Pingos on Earth and Mars: morphology and distribution.  Planet. Space Sci. 10.1016/j.pss.2008.11.003.
  • Burr, D. M., B. C. Bruno, P. D. Lanagan, L. S. Glaze, W. L. Jaeger, R. J. Soare, J.-M. Wan Bun TseungUG, J. A. Skinner, S. M. Baloga (2009) Mesoscale raised rim depression (MRRDs) on Earth: A review of the characteristics, processes, and spatial distributions of analogs for Mars.  Planetary and Space Science, 10.1016/j.pss.2008.11.011.
  • Burr, D. M., L. Wilson, and A. S. BargeryGS (2009) Floods from Fossae: a review of Amazonian-aged extensional tectonic megaflood channels on Mars.  In Megaflooding on Earth and Mars, D. M. Burr, V. R. Baker and P. A. Carling (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. pp. 194-208.
  • Carling, P. A., D. M. Burr, T. F. Johnsen, and T. A. Brennand (2009) A review of open-channel megaflood depositional landforms on Earth and Mars.  In Megaflooding on Earth and Mars, D. M. Burr, V. R. Baker and P. A. Carling (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. pp. 33-49.
  • Wilson, L., A. S. BargeryGS and D. M. Burr (2009) Dynamics of fluid flow in Martian outflow channels.  In Megaflooding on Earth and Mars, D. M. Burr, V. R. Baker and P. A. Carling (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. pp. 290-311.


  • Barnes, J., J. Radebaugh, R. H. Brown, S.Wall, L. Soderblom, J. Lunine, D. Burr, C. Sotin, S. Le Mouelic, S. Rodriguez, B. J. Buratti, R. Clark, K. H. Baines, R. Jaumann, P.D. Nicholson, R. L. Kirk, R. Lopes, R. D. Lorenz, K. Mitchell, C.A. Wood, and the Cassini RADAR Team (2007) Near-Infrared Spectral Mapping of Titan's Mountains and Channels.  J. Geophys. Res. 112 (E11) CiteID E11006, 10.1029/2007JE002932.
  • Keszthelyi, L., R. P. Denlinger, D. R. H. O'Connell, and D. M. Burr (2007) Initial insights from 2.5D hydraulic modeling of floods in Athabasca Valles, Mars. Geophys. Res. Lett. 34(21), CiteID L21206, 10.1029/2007GL031776.
  • Phillips, C. B, D. M. Burr, and R. A. Beyer (2007) Mass movement within a slope streak on Mars.  Geophys. Res. Lett. 34 (L21202), 10.1029/2007GL031577.


  • Burr, D. M. and A. H. ParkerUG (2006) Grjotá Valles and implications for flood sediment deposition on Mars.  Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L22201, 10.1029/2006GL028011.
  • Burr, D. M., J. P. Emery, R. D. Lorenz, G. C. Collins and P. A. Carling (2006) Sediment transport by liquid overland flow: application to Titan.  Icarus,181, 235-242, 
  • Bruno, B. C., S. A. Fagents, C. W. HamiltonGS, D. M. Burr, and S. M. Baloga (2006) Identification of volcanic rootless cones and ice mounds on Earth and Mars: using spatial distribution as a remote sensing tool.  J. Geophys. Res. 111(E6), E06017, 10.1029/2005JE002510.


  • Burr, D. M., R. J. Soare, J.-M. Wan Bun TseungUG and J. P. Emery (2005) Young (late Amazonian), near surface, ground ice features near the equator, Athabasca Valles, Mars.  Icarus 178, 56-73, 10.1016/j.icarus.2005.04.012.
  • Burr, D. M.  (2005) Clustered streamlined forms in Athabasca Valles, Mars: Evidence for sediment deposition during floodwater ponding.  Geomorphology 69, 242-252, 10.1016/j.geomorph.2005.01.009.
  • McEwen, A. S., B. S. PreblichGS, E. P. Turtle, N. A. Artemieva, M. P. Golombek, M. Hurst, R. L. Kirk, D. M. Burr, and P. R. Christensen, (2005) The rayed crater Zunil and interpretations of small impact craters on Mars.  Icarus 176, 351-381; 10.1016/j.icarus.2005.02.009.
  • Emery,J.P., D.M. Burr , D.P. Cruikshank, R.H. Brown and J. B. Dalton (2005) Near-infrared (0.8-4.0 μm) spectroscopy of Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, and Rhea.  Astronomy and Astrophysics 435, 353-362, 10.1051/0004-6361:20042482.
  • Soare, R. J., D. M. Burr, and J.-M. Wan Bun TseungUG (2005) Possible pingos and a periglacial landscape in northwest Utopia Planitia.  Icarus 174, 373-382, 10.1016/j.icarus.2004.11.013.

2004 and earlier

  • Burr, D. M., P. A. Carling, R. A. BeyerGS and N. Lancaster (2004) Flood-formed dunes in Athabasca Valles, Mars: morphology, modeling, and implications.  Icarus 171, 68-83, 10.1016/j.icarus.2004.04.013.
  • Burr, D. M.GS (2003) Hydraulic modelling of Athabasca Vallis, Mars. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 48(4), 655-664.
  • Burr, D. M.GS, J.A. Grier, A.S. McEwen and L.P. Keszthelyi, (2002) Repeated aqueous flooding from the Cerberus Fossae: evidence for very recently extant, deep groundwater on Mars. Icarus 159, 53-73, 10.1006/icar.2002.6921.
  • Burr, D. M.GS, A.S. McEwen and S.E.H. Sakimoto (2002) Recent aqueous floods from the Cerberus Fossae, Mars. Geophys. Res. Lett., 29(1), 10.1029/2001GL013345
  • Burr, D. M.GS and A.S. McEwen, (2002) Recent extreme floods on Mars. In: The Extremes of the Extremes: Extraordinary Floods (ed. by  Á. Snorrason, H. P. Finnsdóttir & M. Moss) (Proc. of a Symp. at Reykjavik, July 2000). Publ. no. 271, IAHS Press, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK.
  • Nordholt, J. E., J. J. Berthelier, D. M. BurrGS, H. O. Funsten, R. Goldstein, J. M. Illiano, K. P. McCabe, D. J. McComas, D. M. Potter, and D. T. Young (1996) The Cassini Ion Mass Spectrometer: performance metrics and techniques in AGU Monograph on Measurement Techniques in Space Plasmas, 209-214.

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