Dr. Jack Holt employs geophysical techniques to study ice-covered regions of Earth and Mars. He has led or co-led seven field expeditions to Antarctica since 1998 to map the ice and features buried beneath the ice. Holt is also a Co-Investigator on the SHARAD instrument team of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. In this role he and his students have been selecting new data acquisition targets and developing new techniques to analyze the data, leading to many new discoveries regarding ice on Mars.

In Antarctica, Holt is using a modernized, turbine-powered DC-3 aircraft outfitted with ice-penetrating radars, laser altimeters, airborne gravimeter and magnetometers to study internal properties of the ice sheet, characterize sub-ice geology and to develop radar analysis techniques for studying Mars. This work contributes to the effort to map and understand water (in all forms) on Mars, the highest priority for NASA and ESA missions. A current project is to deploy radar at multiple frequencies (60 MHz and 3 MHz, respectively) to acquire data over Antarctic targets including ice cores sites to correlate internal radar layering with ice dielectric properties. This should help us better understand radar data from MARS and plan for future missions. Related to these activities, Dr. Holt is pursuing the use of radar sounding for hydrology in temperate climates.

And not to leave anything out, Holt is the Director of the Paleomagnetism Laboratory of the University of Texas and has recently overseen a complete upgrade of the sample handling, demagnetization and data acquisition/analysis systems in the lab.

Areas of Expertise

Mars ice and paleoclimate, Antarctica, glaciers, airborne and orbital geophysics, hydrogeophysics, paleomagnetism. See Jack's research group webpage: http://www.ig.utexas.edu/people/staff/jack/mrg/


Research Locations



Group Achievement Award for SHARAD - NASA (2011)

Outstanding Oral Presentation - SCAR Open Science Conference (2010)

Director's Circle of Excellence - UT Institute for Geophysics (2010)

Outstanding Researcher - UT Institute for Geophysics (2010)

Group Achievement Award for SHARAD - NASA (2009)

Outstanding Researcher - Jackson School of Geosciences (2008)

Post-Doctoral Scholar at JPL - Caltech (1997 - 1998)

Technical Achievement Award - NASA (1992)

Koons Field Research Fellowship - California Institute of Technology (1992)

Technical Achievement Award - NASA (1990)

to be entered - National Merit Scholar (1984 - 1988)

President's Honor Roll - Rice University (1984 - 1988)

to be entered, Antarctica's ice bottom exposed, BBC news article (2005)

to be entered, I'm a scientist, get me out of here, Guardian news article (2005)

to be entered, Press Conference, AAA, Washington, D.C. (2005)

Interview, Antarctic Sun Article (2004)

Teaching Exp., Taught science courses to undergraduate students, engaging them in field-based research projects and exposing them to major research facilities (Owens Valley radio Observatory, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech Paleomagnetics Laboratory), Deep Springs College (2003)

to be entered, Funded Education and Public Outreach Program, NASA (2003 - 2005)

Speaker, Classroom Visit and Talk, Martin Jr. High, Austin, TX (8th grade) (2002)

to be entered, Email dialogue from Antarctica with 8th grade class, Marting Jr. High (2001 - 2002)

Interview, Lake Vostok Survey, Australian National Public Radio (2001)

Project Manager, Managed the acquisition, reduction, and distribution of 97,000 line-km of airborne radar, laser altimetry, gravity, and magnetics data from Antarctica for 15 investegators at 10 institutions. , Support office for Aerogeophysical Research (SOAR), an NSF facility (1998 - 2002)

Member, American Geophysical Union

Member, Geological Society of America (GSA)

Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Member, International Airborne Geophysics Safety Association

Graduate Students

Daniel E Lalich, Ph.D., expected 2017 (Supervisor)

Mackenzie D Day, Ph.D., expected 2017 (Supervisor)

Sarah C Brothers, Ph.D., expected 2016 (Co-supervisor)

Thomas C Brothers, Ph.D., expected 2013 (Supervisor)
My research focuses on the interpretation of remotely sensed data to investigate the surface geomorphology and subsurface stratigraphic record of planetary bodies. I make extensive use of orbital radar soundings, high resolution satellite imagery, and digital elevation models. My research involves processing, interpreting and integrating observations from multiple types of remotely sensed data in collaboration with other researchers to deduce the evolution of planetary surfaces. Throughout my dissertation, my research has been focused on applying these approaches to the Mar's north pole.

Isaac B Smith, Ph.D., expected 2013 (Supervisor)