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Isaac Smith

Assistant Professor



Phone Number: 416-736-2100 x77703



Dr. Isaac B. Smith joined York University in August 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Earth and Space Science, where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Planetary Science. Prior to joining York University, he was a Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Lakewood, Colorado. After completing his Ph.D. in Geosciences in 2013 at the University of Texas at Austin, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to work at Sorbonne University in Paris France for one year. He also completed one post-doc at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. His research interests involve ice on Mars, especially related to present and recent climate. Dr. Smith’s office is PSE 110.

At York, Dr. Smith intends to continue his ongoing research and add laboratory and field components in his study of ice processes and behaviour. For field work, he would like to study permafrost features and morphology in the Canadian Arctic and relate the analogue landforms to permafrost features found on Mars. In the lab he aims to constraint the rheological properties of CO2 ice to study its behaviour as glaciers and albedo effects of CO2 ice as it sinters dues to incident solar radiation. Working with other ices, such as N2 and CH4, two common ices on Pluto, are longer term goals.

Research Lab
Ice Lab
Location: Petrie, PSE 403
We simulate conditions at Mars’ poles in order to learn about the processes acting on Mars. We also measure dielectric properties of Martian analogue materials.

Research Interests

  • Mars ice and climate processes
  • Geomorphology, especially related to ice
  • Ices in the Solar system
  • Geology and Geophysics
  • Radar and planetary science

Selected Publications

Smith, I. B., P. O. Hayne, S. Byrne, P. Becerra, M. Kahre, W. Calvin, C. Hvidberg, S. Milkovich, P. Buhler, M. Landis, B. Horgan, A. Kleinbohl, M. R. Perry, R. Obbard, J. Stern, S. Piqueux, N. Thomas, K. Zacny, L. Carter, L. Edgar,J. Emmett, T. Navarro, J. Hanley, M. Koutnik., N. E. Putzig, B. L. Henderson, J. W. Holt, B. Ehlmann, S. Parra, D. Lalich, C. Hansen, M. Hecht, D. Banfield, K. Herkenhoff, D. A. Paige, M. Skidmore, R. L. Staehle, M. Siegler, (2020) The Holy Grail: A Roadmap for Unlocking the Climate Record Stored within Mars’ Polar Layered Deposits, Planetary and Space Science 184 104841

Diniega, S. M., I. B. Smith, (2019) High-priority Science Questions identified at the Mars Workshop on Amazonian and Present-Day Climate, Planetary and Space Science 104813.

Bramson, A.M., Byrne, S., Bapst, J., Smith, I.B., McClintock, T., (2019). A Migration Model for the Polar Spiral Troughs of Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets. 124. doi:10.1029/2018JE005806

Smith, I.B., et al., (2018), 6th international conference on Mars polar science and exploration: Conference summary and five top questions, Icarus 308 2-14. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.06.027

Smith, I.B., A. Spiga (2018), Seasonal Variability in Winds in the North Polar Region of Mars, Icarus 308 188-196, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.10.005

Spiga, A, I. B. Smith (2018), Katabatic Jumps in the Martian northern polar regions, Icarus 308 197-208, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2017.10.021

Smith, I.B., N. E. Putzig, J. W. Holt, and R. J. Phillips (2016), An Ice Age Recorded in the Polar Deposits of Mars, Science, 352(6289), 1075-1078, doi: 10.1126/science.aad6968

Bierson, C. J., R. J. Phillips, I. B. Smith, S. E. Wood, N. E. Putzig, D. Nunes, S. Byrne, (2016), Stratigraphy and evolution of the buried CO2 deposit in the Martian south polar cap, Geophysical Research Letters, V43 I9, 4172-4179, doi:10.1002/2016GL068457.