ESS Mailing Address
Fax: 206-543-0489 (shared)
Email: gillespie @ ess.washington.edu
Research Groups: Astrobiology, Climate and Paleoclimate, Quaternary Research, Remote Sensing, Planetary Sciences
Areas of Interest:
Glacial geology, remote sensing, Mars landscape evolution
Current Research Interests:
Alan Gillespie is a Quaternary geologist and directs the Remote Sensing Laboratory. His research interests are in glacial geology, geochronology, and landscape evolution, on Earth and Mars. His interest in remote sensing is in both its theory and application to these problems. Gillespie is currently funded by NASA and the Department of Energy.
Gillespie has been investigating asynchrony in glacier advances across Central Asia since 1991, research that led to the recognition that this area consists of three or more climatic regions. The last maximum advances in the Kyrgyz Tien Shan and farther east in the same range differed by tens of thousands of years. This intricate granularity is not yet explained fully. Gillespie is also investigating the origin of the giant canyons of the Valles Marineris system on Mars, working with John Adams, Dave Montgomery and others to suggest that geothermal dewatering of hydrous salts distributed throughout the 10-km-deep regolith of the Martian highlands resulted in the removal of material through faults and aquifers on a gigantic scale. The canyons are, essentially, collapse features in a salt karst terrain.
Gillespie is also working on hyperspectral thermal infrared remote sensing, using thermal radiation emitted from the land surface to determine mineral composition. He has served as the Chair or Co-Chair for 16 graduate students, and served on the thesis committee for 33 others. He has authored or co-authored 4 books and 185 articles (59 as 1st author). Since 2000 he has been Sr. Editor for the journal Quaternary Research.
Gillespie is the main adviser for three students, Iryna Danilina, Matthew Smith, and J. Batbaatar. Danilina has created a thermal "radiosity" model that predicts the effects of surface roughness on recovered emissivity over the course of the diurnal cycle. Smith is studying spectral evidence of a possible giant hydrothermal system surrounding an intruded pluton on Mars. Batbaatar is analyzing the history of a glacier-dammed lake in northern Mongolia.
*Gillespie, A. R., Huneke, J. C., and Wasserburg, G. J., 1984. Eruption age of a ~100,000-year-old basalt from 40Ar-39Ar analysis of partially degassed xenoliths. J. Geophys. Res. 89, 1033-1048. *Gillespie, A. R., and Bierman, P. R., 1995. Precision of terrestrial exposure ages and erosion rates from analysis of cosmogenic isotopes produced in situ. J. Geophys. Res., Solid Earth and Planets 100(B12), 24,637-24,649. *Gillespie, A. R., and Molnar, P., 1995. Asynchronism of maximum advances of mountain and continental glaciations. Reviews of Geophysics 33, 311-364. *Gillespie, A.R., Burke, R.M., Komatsu, G., Bayasgalan, A., 2008. Chronology of late Pleistocene glaciers in Darhad Basin, northern Mongolia. Quaternary Research 69, 169-187. Gillespie, A. R., Porter, S. C., and Atwater, B. F. (eds.), 2004. The Quaternary Period in the United States. Developments in Quaternary Science Vol 1, Elsevier, 584 pp. Adams, J. B., and Gillespie, A. R., 2006. Remote Sensing of Landscapes with Spectral Images. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK * peer-reviewed