Dr Frances Butcher
Department of Geography
Postdoctoral Research Assistant
+44 114 222 7972
Full contact details
Department of Geography
Geography and Planning Building
I am a Planetary Scientist researching glacial landforms on Earth and Mars.
I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the ERC-funded PALGLAC project (PI: Prof Chris Clark), using glacial landforms to reconstruct the flow dynamics of the former Scandinavian Ice Sheet.
I obtained a BA in Geography from the University of Cambridge in 2015 before moving to The Open University to undertake a PhD entitled 'Wet-Based Glaciation on Mars', which I completed in 2019.
During my time at The Open University, I also contributed to landing site selection for the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars ('Rosalind Franklin') rover mission, which launches to Mars in 2022.
- Research interests
My key research interests include:
- Landforms produced by glacial meltwater on Mars, and their implications for environmental conditions in Mars' recent and ancient past.
- Interactions between glacial, periglacial, and paraglacial processes on Mars and their implications for environmental change.
- Landforms produced by the flow of past ice sheets on Earth, and their implications for ice sheet dynamics.
- Comparisons of landforms on Mars with analogous landforms on Earth.
- Time will tell: temporal evolution of Martian gullies and palaeoclimatic implications. Geological Society of London.
- Sinuous ridges in Chukhung crater, Tempe Terra, Mars: Implications for fluvial, glacial, and glaciofluvial activity. Icarus, 357. View this article in WRRO
- Landforms indicative of regional warm based glaciation, Phlegra Montes, Mars. Icarus. View this article in WRRO
- Morphometry of a glacier-linked esker in NW Tempe Terra, Mars, and implications for sediment-discharge dynamics of subglacial drainage. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 542. View this article in WRRO
- Modeled subglacial water flow routing supports localized intrusive heating as a possible cause of basal melting of Mars' south polar ice cap. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. View this article in WRRO
- Molards as an indicator of permafrost degradation and landslide processes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 516, 136-147. View this article in WRRO
- The 2016 UK Space Agency Mars Utah Rover Field Investigation (MURFI). Planetary and Space Science, 165, 31-56. View this article in WRRO
- Glacial and gully erosion on Mars : a terrestrial perspective. Geomorphology, 318, 26-57. View this article in WRRO
- Surface-based 3D measurements of small aeolian bedforms on Mars and implications for estimating ExoMars rover traversability hazards. Planetary and Space Science, 153, 39-53. View this article in WRRO
- Recent basal melting of a mid-latitude glacier on Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 122(12), 2445-2468. View this article in WRRO
- Are the Dorsa Argentea on Mars eskers?. Icarus, 275, 65-84. View this article in WRRO
- Ice sheet scale subglacial meltwater conduit dimensions and processes: insights from 3D morphometry of a large sample of eskers.
- Water Ice at Mid-Latitudes on Mars, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Planetary Science
- The Hydrology of Mars Including a Potential Cryosphere, Volatiles in the Martian Crust (pp. 185-246). Elsevier
Conference proceedings papers
- View this article in WRRO Internal Structure of a Glacier on Mars Revealed by Gully Incision. 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Physical Meeting Cancelled due to Covid-19. Abstract Available Online.
- Possible Transport of Basal Debris to the Surface of a Mid-Latitude Glacier on Mars. View this article in WRRO
- Modelling Esker Formation on Mars View this article in WRRO
Theses / Dissertations
- 2019: International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Conference Grant (€1320)
- 2019: Lunar and Planetary Institute Career Development Award ($1500)
- 2019: GeoPlanet Research Mobility Grant (€1200): Awarded by Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique, University of Nantes
- 2018: Royal Astronomical Society Travel Grant (£900).
- 2018: British Society for Geomorphology Postgraduate Conference Attendance Grant (£300).
- 2017: Pierazzo International Student Travel Award ($2000): Awarded to one non-US graduate student globally per year by the Planetary Science Institute.
- 2016: Europlanet Grant: Full funding to attend Europlanet RPIF 3D training workshop, Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
- 2016: 6th International Mars Polar Conference European Student Travel Grant (€666): Awarded by the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences.
- 2015: Ogden Trust Trustees' Award (£900).
- 2015: British Society for Geomorphology Postgraduate Conference Attendance Grant (£850).
- 2015: ProViDE Summer School EU Student Travel Grant (£500).
- Professional activities
- 2nd prize for '3 minute thesis' competition (2018), Open University STEM faculty.
- Nature Astronomy Prize for Best Student Presentation (2017) at the 1st British Planetary Science Congress, Glasgow, UK, 4-5 Dec. 2017 (Poster).
- Paper subsequently reported in a Nature Astronomy Research Highlight
- John Glen Prize (2017) for the best student talk at the International Glaciological Society's British Branch Meeting, Lancaster University, UK, 5-7 Sept. 2017.
- Prize for best student talk (2017) at the Astrobiology Society of Britain: Habitability Beyond Earth conference. Open University, UK, 13-14 Sept. 2017.
- William Vaughan Lewis Prize (2015), University of Cambridge prize for undergraduate geography dissertation.
- Corpus Christi College Prize (2015), Corpus Christi College (University of Cambridge) prize for undergraduate dissertation.
- Hewitt Exhibition (2015), Corpus Christi College (University of Cambridge) prize for contributions to outreach and admissions initiatives between 2012 and 2015.