Aaron Curtis

As an undergraduate, Aaron spent his weekends exploring and mapping caves. One thing led to another, and soon he had completed a PhD studying the processes which create and sustain the fumarolic ice caves of Mt Erebus, Antarctica. Aaron loves to code and construct, and has applied new technologies to speleology and volcanology including fiber optic temperature sensing, small unmanned aircraft, and various 3D mapping and modeling techniques. His postdoc project focuses on adding ice climbing capabilities to JPL’s LEMUR robot to answer science questions in icy environments on Earth and other icy bodies in the solar system.

  • PhD Geochemistry, NM Tech
  • MS Geochemistry, NM Tech
  • BA Geography, University of Cambridge

Research Interests: 

Caves, Glaciovolcanism, Robotics

Professional Experience: 
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle specialist, Trail by Fire Expedition 2015-2016
  • Faculty Guest Researcher, Los Alamos National Laboratory / Engineering Institute 2013
  • Research Assistant, Mt. Erebus Volcano Observatory 2009-2015
  • Teaching Assistant, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 2009-2013
  • Vegetation mapping crew member, National Park Service Sonoran Desert Network 2008-2009
  • US Embassy Stockholm, Consular Section and Financial Management Office 2004-2007

Selected Awards: 
  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Award
  • New Mexico Space Grant Graduate Research Fellowship, 2010-2011 and 2012-2013
  • National Speleological Society James Mitchell award 2009

Selected Publications: 
  1. Ilanko, T., T. P. Fischer, P. Kyle, A. Curtis, H. Lee, and Y. Sano. 2019. “Modification of Fumarolic Gases by the Ice-Covered Edifice of Erebus Volcano, Antarctica.” Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 381 (September): 119–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.05.017.
  2. Ashley, J. W., A. G. Curtis, S. J. Oij, D. F. Wellington, and P. Y. Meslin. 2019. “Morphometric Comparison of Martian Iron Meteorite Finds with Curated Terrestrial Analog Samples Using 3d Visualization and Measurement.” In Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Vol. 50.
  3. Moussallam, Yves, Nial Peters, Pablo Masias, Fredy Apaza, Talfan Barnie, C. Ian Schipper, Aaron Curtis et al. "Magmatic gas percolation through the old lava dome of El Misti volcano." Bulletin of Volcanology 79, no. 6 (2017): 46.
  4. Curtis, A., Kyle, P., 2017. Methods for mapping and monitoring global glaciovolcanism. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.01.017
  5. Moussallam, Y., Bani, P., Curtis, A., Barnie, T., Moussallam, M., Peters, N., Schipper, C.I., Aiuppa, A., Giudice, G., Amigo, Á., Velasquez, G., Cardona, C., 2016. Sustaining persistent lava lakes: Observations from high-resolution gas measurements at Villarrica volcano, Chile. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 454, 237–247. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.09.012
  6. Mascarenas, D., Ott, L., Curtis, A., Brambilla, S., Larson, A., Brumby, S., Farrar, C., 2014. Video: Remote Sensor Placement, in: Proceedings of the 12th Annual International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys ’14. ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 388–388. doi:10.1145/2594368.2602433
  7. Mascarenas, D., Aaron Curtis, James Elliott, Michael Ronquest, David T. Kendrick, and Rollin E. Lakis. MODCOPTER: Prompt, Precise Aerial Sample Collection Using Unmanned Systems. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), May 7, 2013. http://www.osti.gov/scitech/biblio/1078376.
  8. Curtis, A., Philip Kyle, Laura Jones, Melissa Kammerer, Andrew Campbell (2013) Water-isotope evidence of a persistent plume observed in snow and ice samples at Erebus volcano, Antarctica. Poster presentation, IAVCEI 2013 Scientific Assembly, Kagoshima Japan
  9. Fischer, T., Curtis, A., Kyle, P., Sano, Y., 2013. Gas discharges in fumarolic ice caves of Erebus volcano, Antarctica. Presented at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver, CO.
  10. Curtis, A., and P. Kyle (2011), Geothermal point sources identified in a fumarolic ice cave on Erebus volcano, Antarctica using fiber optic distributed temperature sensing, Geophysical Research Letters, 38(16), L16802.
  11. Curtis A, 2009. Karst Micrometeorology of Two Caves on the Loser Plateau, Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria - Initial Results. Die Höhle 60: 10–20.
  12. Curtis A, 2009. Troggle: a novel system for cave exploration information management Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Speleology
  13. Curtis A, 2009. Karst Microclimate Monitoring in the Northern Alps, Austria. Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Speleology
  14. Curtis A, 2008. Science and Surveying: Totes Gebirge, Austria 2007. Speleology 10/11:6-10
Aaron Curtis
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: 703-303-8060