Daniel MEGE


RESEARCH in construction (January 2011)





students & postdocs


hot cooling frozen







My research interests appear to be guided by serendipity. They are guided by curiosity, and made concrete by fortuitous connection of observations and ideas of various horizons.

I am interested in theories but I am not gifted enough for abstraction. I can still hear Prof. Jacques-Louis Mercier, at the time director of the Tectonics Lab at University of Paris-Sud, Orsay, where I did my PhD work, that model leaves but observation remains. This still guides most of my research work. I do not like crowd too much, and I cannot refrain from being suspicious about the results obtained by researcher crowds following Hamelin the flute player. I usually prefer gathering ideas in neglected research sites or on disused research themes where ludic exploration is still possible.

- Mars. I became a planetary geologist in 1991 for my MSc degree (DEA) and we were still Martians for a number of geologists. Now everybody works on Mars, and the number of exploration spacecrafts is such that hundreds of good geologists would be required to examine all the new data with the attention and accuracy and thoroughness they deserve. Innumerable geological discoveries remain to be found on Mars but there are just not enough (field) geologists to investigate the available datasets in detail. Mars is still to be explored.

- Pluto. No- there are no useable images of Pluto available for the moment (only a few pixels from Hubble... hmm this is more complicated than this but actually there is not much difference). But imagination can work... there has probably been resurfacing to some extent: how is this possible?.. This is my dark side...

- The African Horn is a great place to investigate. Just remember those Somali people (and a few others) who do not care at all of a State. Isn't it fascinating? In geology the Horn has the Afar triangle, the Rift Valley with its faults, tension fractures, flowers, oranges, and strawberries, a Historical Circuit along which trapivorous geologist like to scent basalts and rhyolites. Why not investigate off-road, in the hot lowlands toward Sudan or on the dry Somali plateau... not many geologists over there, a lot of important geology to discover!

Looking back, recurring themes in my work include dyke propagation, deformation of continental basaltic plateaus (traps), some gravity processes such as deep-seated gravitational spreading (sackung)... extensional tectonics... For investigating such matters I play with satellite data (visible, IR, radar, altimetry...), field data if possible... a touch of mechanics... don't forget that science is a game first, with its specific rules and mysteries!