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The University of Tennessee

Earth and Planetary Sciences

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Douglas A. Howard

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Planetary Geosciences

I began my career in geology at Arizona State University (B.S. Geology) while working at  the Mars Space Flight Facility.  As an undergraduate and a Geology Research Associate after graduation I participated in the NASA Mars Observer and Mars Global Surveyor missions on the Thermal Emission Spectrometer science team by assisting the development of the Thermal Emission Spectral (TES) library and managing the TES spectroscopy and sample preparation laboratories.  I also contributed to the Mars Pathfinder mission, the ASTER remote sensing program, and became the ASU liaison and lead remote sensing geologist for a consortium between NASA (Mission to Planet Earth - Commercial Remote Sensing Program), ASU, and City of Scottsdale, Arizona.  I then ventured into industry and founded Geo Spectral & Spatial Sciences, Inc., a small research and development consulting company specializing in remote sensing, geospatial modeling, software development, field mapping, and verification and validation studies.  During this period, as Senior Advisor for a directorate of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, I led major field campaigns to validate co-collected satellite, airborne, and ground-based remote sensing sensor phenomenologies for national security applications.  After 10 successful years consulting to the US government I pursued and completed an M.S. in Earth Systems Science and a Ph.D. in Earth Systems and GeoInformation Science (Geosciences concentration) at George Mason University.

I am currently a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee where I am a member of the Planetary Geosciences Institute (PGI).  I am also a member of the NASA Mars Odyssey Thermal Infrared Emission Imaging Spectrometer (THEMIS) science team working on various mineralogical and geochemistry problems.  Additionally, my terrestrial geological research takes me to the field in Antarctica, Iceland, and most recently to the Altai Mountains of Siberia, where I study the fluvial geomorphology of jökulhlaup paleofloods, their link to paleoclimates, and model the hydraulics of these tremendous catastrophic outbursts.  I then use these models to apply to similar landforms that we observe from remote sensing on Mars and other planetary bodies.  I am also a co-investigator on an NSF project in Northwestern Belize working with a multidisciplinary international team of scientists on problems related to Mayan occupation in this region.  We are particularly interested in the wetlands that were used in agricultural practices during Mayan occupation.

I am also the Principal Investigator for a geophysical technologies and methodology research and development project that focuses on forensic geological applications.  Dr. Gregory S. Baker (UT) and I co-lead this project and support 3 graduate students. 


Doug Howard

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
1412 Circle Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-1410
Phone: (865) 974-6008

Research and Teaching Activities