The annual Planetary Geologic Mappers Meeting serves two purposes. In addition to giving mappers the opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences, victories, and problems with others, presentations are reviewed by the Geologic Mapping Subcommittee (GeMS) to provide input to the Planetary Geology and Geophysics Mapping Program review panel’s consideration of new proposals and progress reports that include mapping tasks. Funded mappers bring both oral presentation materials (slides or viewgraphs) and map products to post for review by GeMS and fellow mappers. Additionally, the annual meetings typically feature optional field trips offering earth analogs and parallels to planetary mapping problems.
The 2001 Mappers Meeting, June 18-19, was convened by Tim Parker, Dave Senske, and Ken Tanaka and was hosted by Larry Crumpler and Jayne Aubele of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Oral presentations were given in the Museum’s Honeywell Auditorium, and maps were posted in the Sandia Room. In addition to active mappers, guests included local science teachers who had successfully competed for the right to attend and listen to the reports. It was a unique pleasure for mappers to have the opportunity to interact with and provide information to teachers responding so enthusiastically to the meeting presentation.
On Sunday, June 17, Larry and Jayne conducted an optional pre-meeting field trip. The flanks of Rio Grande Rift, east and west of Albuquerque and Valles Caldera north of town presented tectonic, volcanic, and sedimentary examples of the Rift and adjoining areas analogous to observed features on Mars and Venus. The arid but volcanically and tectonically active environment of New Mexico’s rift valley enables focus on features that appear morphologically young and spectacular in satellite images and digital relief models. The theme of the trip was to see what, at orbiter resolution, "obvious" geologic features look like at lander (outcrop) scales. Trips to the top of the rift-flanking mountains (Sandia Peak, 10,600 ft) and the Valles Caldera, as well as various active spring deposits highlighted the day.
After welcoming remarks from the host, Larry Crumpler, opening remarks by Tim Parker and Dave Senske and a report on mapping program status by Ken Tanaka, the mappers’ oral presentations began the morning of June 18, with a session on Venus Geologic Mapping. The afternoon continued with an exciting USGS Planetary GIS on the Web (PIGWAD) demonstration and ended with an open discussion of issues in planetary mapping. Posted maps of Venus quadrangles were viewed during the morning break.
Tuesday’s Mars Geologic Mapping session began with a pep talk from Tim Parker encouraging mapping community input to the MER landing site selection committee and continued with Steve Saunders describing the potential contribution of Odyssey Mission data to the geologic mapping of Mars. A Mars map poster session was held during the morning break, and the meeting was adjourned mid-afternoon.
After the mappers meeting on Tuesday, attendants were treated to a "Field trip to Mars." The Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico houses an outstanding collection of meteorites, including those that have been identified as originating from Mars. The Institute tour featured examples of most of the different lithologies exhibited by martian meteorites identified to date, as well as some of the analytical tests (scanning electron microscope) they are conducting on specimens from ALH84001.
Wednesday, June 20, featured an optional post-meeting field trip to see a travertine quarry and nearby sites of travertine deposition, the Very Large Array near Socorro, and other volcanic features within the Rio Grande Rift.