Sean Peters pictured in office
Sean Peters
Office
McCardell Bicen Hall 429
Tel
(802) 443-2985
Email
seanp@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Fall 2024: M 12:30-1:30 PM and W 3:30-4:30 PM, or by appt.

I am a volcanologist and planetary scientist fascinated by the formation and evolution of planetary surfaces.  My work combines experimental volcanology (via analog experimentation), remote sensing (via photogeomorphometry and/or spectral analyses), and comparative planetology to investigate how fundamental geologic processes (e.g., volcanism) influence planetary evolution.  I earned an MS and PhD in Geological Sciences from Arizona State University, where I subsequently served as an Associate Research Scientist.  Prior to joining the Middlebury faculty, I taught English in Japan and later served as a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Idaho.

 

While my scholarly interests continue to evolve, at present, my current research focuses on (1) how lava flows propagate and how we can use lava flow deposits (morphology) to estimate emplacement conditions; (2) how lava flow dynamics (propagation and emplacement) are influenced by internal and external variables; (3) how these processes have unfolded on other planetary surfaces; and (4) the volcanotectonic evolution of the surface of Mars.

 

Of course, I am happy to study other planetary bodies in addition to Earth and Mars.  I am also excited to discuss potential collaborations and/or research ideas with students and colleagues.  Feel free to check out my website:  https://seanipeters.com/

Courses Taught

Course Description

Natural Hazards
Despite increasing technological sophistication, modern civilization remains vulnerable to natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, extraterrestrial impacts, and other events. In this course we will consider the geologic mechanisms behind these hazards, the societal implications of these hazards, and approaches to reducing risk. Case studies will be combined with exploration of fundamental geologic concepts to provide students a foundation for understanding risk exposure and evaluating approaches to hazard management. (Not open to students who have taken GEOL 0112 or 0170) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. (formerly GEOL 0111)

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Physical Volcanology
In this course, we will detail one of the fundamental geologic processes acting across the Solar System – volcanism. We will study the fundamental principles that underlie volcanism, the different expressions observed at the surface, and predict what types of volcanism are expected under various conditions. We will integrate insights from observations, theory, and modelling to form a cohesive understanding of volcanic principles. This will entail why and how volcanism occurs, the formation of igneous rock, and the incorporation of volcanic deposits into the rock record. Likewise, we will use our terrestrial understanding as a jump off point to explore volcanic processes on other planets. A final project will invite students to apply the fundamental principles of volcanology learned during the semester to critically examine an active area of volcanology, develop the skills to critically analyze scientific data and literature, and effectively communicate their findings. (ECSC 0201 or permission of instructor. Recommended ECSC 0311 or GEOL 0311 or ECSC 0322 or GEOL 0322)

Terms Taught

Fall 2023, Fall 2024

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Course Description

Readings and Research
Individual or group independent study, laboratory or field research projects, readings and discussion of timely topics in earth and environmental science. (Approval only) (formerly GEOL 0500)

Terms Taught

Winter 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025

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Course Description

Senior Thesis Research
Upon completion of ECSC 0400, all senior ECSC/GEOL majors will continue their independent senior thesis research by taking one unit of ECSC 0700. This research will culminate in a written thesis which must be orally defended. (Approval only) (formerly GEOL 0700)

Terms Taught

Spring 2024, Spring 2025

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Publications