Daniel Mège


Research topic

Planetary geology, tectonics, geomorphology, near-infrared spectroscopy


Coordinating this research group is my task. My own research fields include

  1. - The comparison between geological processes on the Earth and other planetary bodies. Mars is especially attractive for this type of work because the bulk composition of both planets is not very different, obtaining high quality and high accuracy datasets has been a successful challenge for many past and ongoing exploratory missions, and the perspective of having a look by ourselves in situ in the near future is reasonable.
  1. - The geology of the Kuiper belt. No helpful data so far apart from the Voyager images of Triton and Phoebe, two suspected Kuiper belt objects, but the New Horizons spacecraft should improve the situation in 2015.
  1. - The geology of other remote places, such as northwestern and southeastern Ethiopia, two regions that have convinced me that understanding the geology of the Afar triple junction critically needs broadening the investigations to areas which are NOT the East African nor the Danakil depression!
  1. - A lot of my work has been related to volcanic sheets (dykes) or to gravitational tectonics. The methods I use are based on structural geology, geomorphology, geomorphometry, and remote sensing (visible, multispectral, hyperspectral in the near-infrared domain).

Chief scientist of the Hopter project .
  1. My work throughout the years has been supported by CNRS/INSU, CNES, University of Nantes, P&G Geological consultants, Pexco Exploration (East Africa) N.V., the INSU/Margins initiative, and now the Foundation for Polish Science and the European Union through the Atlab project from FP7.  I am the most grateful to them, as well as to the French and European tax-payers.

A detailed (although not regularly updated) description of my research activities can be found here.

Some nice publications

Mège, D., Purcell, P., Bézos, A., Jourdan, F., and La, C. A major dyke swarm in the Ogaden region south of Afar and the early evolution of the Afar Triple Junction. In Wright et al. (eds), Magmatic Rifting and Active Volcanism, Geol. Soc., Sp. Publ., London, in press.

Mège, D., Purcell, P., Pochat, S., Guidat, and T. 2015. The landscape and landforms of the Ogaden, Southeast Ethiopia. In Billi, P. (Ed.) Landscapes and landforms of Ethiopia. Springer, in press (released in April).

Gurgurewicz, J., Mège, D., Carrère, V., Cornen, G., Gaudin A., Kostylew, J., Morizet, Y., Purcell, P.G., and Le Deit, L., Inferring alteration conditions on Mars: insights from near-infrared spectra of basalts from the arid hot Ogaden and arid cold Udokan volcanic fields: submitted.

Gourronc, M., Bourgeois, O., Mège, D., Pochat, S., Bultel, B., Massé, M., Le Deit, L., and Mercier, D., Valles Marineris: a relict glaciated valley landsystem along the Martian equator. Geomorphology 204, 235–255, doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.08.009

Mège, D., Le Deit, L., Rango, T., and Korme, T., Gravity tectonics of topographic ridges: halokinesis and gravitational spreading in the western Ogaden, Ethiopia. Geomorphology, 10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.03.018.

Le Deit, L., Flahaut, J., Quantin, C., Hauber, E., Mège, D., Bourgeois, O., Gurgurewicz, J., Massé, M., and Jaumann, R., Extensive surface pedogenic alteration of the Martian Noachian crust evidenced by plateau phyllosilicates around Valles Marineris, J. Geophys. Res. 117, 117, E00J05, doi:10.1029/2011JE003983.

Lucas, A., Mangeney, A., Mège, D., and Bouchut, F., 2011. Scar geometry influence on landslide dynamics and deposit from granular modeling of Martian landslides. J. Geophys. Res.116, E10001, doi:10.1029/2011JE003803.

Mège, D., and Bourgeois, O., 2011. Equatorial glaciations on Mars revealed by gravitational collapse of Valles Marineris wallslopes. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 310, 182-191, 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.08.030.

Le Deit, L., Bourgeois, O., Mège, D., Hauber, E., Le Mouélic, S., Massé, M., Jaumann, R., and Bibring, J.-P., 2010. Geological history of a layered formation covering the plateaus around Valles Marineris, Mars. Icarus, 208, 684-703, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.03.012.

Mège, D., and Rango, T., 2010. Permanent groundwater storage in basaltic dyke fractures and termite mound viability. J. Afr. Earth Sci., 57, 127-142, doi:10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2009.07.014.

Gurgurewicz, J., Mège, D., Carrère, V., Cornen, G., Gaudin, A., Morizet, Y., and Purcell, P.G., 2009. Analysis of volcanic rock samples collected in March 2008 in eastern Ogaden Basin, Ethiopia. Pexco Exploration (East Africa) N.V./ University of Nantes, 37 p.

Schultz, R.A., Soliva, R., Okubo, C., and Mège, D., 2009. Fault populations. In R.A. Schultz and T.R. Watters (Eds), Planetary Tectonics. Cambridge Univ. Press, 456-509.

Mège, D., 2009. Using Palsar imagery for characterizing natural properties of volcanic fissures in the Ethiopian volcanic province. ESA/JAXA, ALOS PI Symposium 2008, ESA SP-664, 9 p.

Mège, D., Gaudin, A., and Morizet, Y., 2008. Geology of Ogaden blocks 18-19-21, Ethiopia (Pexco concession), observations and preliminary results. Pexco Exploration (East Africa) N.V./ University of Nantes, 66 p.

Schultz, R.A., Mège, D., and Diot, H., 2008. Emplacement conditions of igneous dikes in Ethiopian Traps. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 178, 683-692, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.08.012.

Le Deit, L., Le Mouélic, S., Mège, D., Bourgeois, O., Combe, J.-P., Sotin, C., Gendrin, A., Hauber, E., Mangold, N., and Bibring, J.-P., 2008. Ferric oxides in East Candor Chasma, Valles Marineris (Mars) inferred from analysis of OMEGA/Mars Express data: identification and geological interpretation. J. Geophys. Res., 113, E07001, doi:10.1029/2007JE002950.

Schultz, R.A., Moore, J.M., Grosfils, E.B., Tanaka, K.L., and Mège, D., 2007. The Canyonlands model for planetary grabens: revised physical basis and implications. In M.G. Chapman and I.P. Skilling (Eds), The Geology of Mars: Evidence from Earth-Based Analogues. Cambridge Univ. Press. 371-399.

Mège, D., and Korme T., 2004. Dyke swarms in the Ethiopian Large Igneous Province: not only a matter of stress. J. Volc. Geotherm. Res., 132/4, 283-310, doi:10.1016/S0377-0273(03)00318-4.

Mège, D., and Korme T., 2004. Fissure eruption of flood basalts from statistical analysis of dyke fracture length. J. Volc. Geotherm. Res., 131, 77-92, doi:10.1016/S0377-0273(03)00317-2.

Mège, D., Cook, A. C., Lagabrielle, Y., Garel, E., and Cormier, M.-H., 2003, Volcanic rifting at Martian grabens. J. Geophys. Res., 108, E5, doi:10.1029/2002JE001852.

Callot, J.-P., Geoffroy, L., Aubourg, C., Pozzi, J.P., and Mège, D., 2001, Magma flow in shallow dykes from the E-Greenland margin inferred from magnetic fabric studies. Tectonophysics, 334, 313-329.

Ernst, R. E., Grosfils, E. B., and Mège, D., 2001, Giant Dyke Swarms on Earth, Venus and Mars. Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 29, 489-534.

Mège, D., 2001, Uniformitarian plume tectonics: the post-Archean Earth and Mars. In R. E. Ernst and K. L. Buchan (Eds), Mantle plumes: Their identification through time. Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Pap. 352, 141-164.

Mège, D., and Ernst, R. E., 2001, Contractional effects of mantle plumes on Earth, Mars and Venus. In R. E. Ernst and K. L. Buchan (Eds), Mantle plumes: Their identification through time. Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Pap. 352, 103-140.

Mège, D., and Reidel, S. P., 2001, A method for estimating 2D wrinkle ridge strain from fault displacement scaling applied to the Yakima folds, Washington. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 18, 3545-3548.

Peulvast, J.-P., D. Mège, J. Chiciak, F. Costard, and P. Masson, 2001, Morphology, evolution, and tectonics of Valles Marineris wallslopes (Mars). Geomorphology, 37, 3-4, 329-352.

Mège, D., and Masson, P., 1996, Amounts of stretching in Valles Marineris. Planet. Space Sci., 44, 8, 749-782.

Mège, D., and Masson, P., 1996, A plume tectonics model for the Tharsis province, Mars. Planet. Space Sci., 44, 12, 1499-1546.

Mège, D., and Masson, P., 1996, Stress models for Tharsis formation, Mars. Planet. Space Sci., 44, 12, 1471-1497.


Academic background

1988 DEUG Geography, University of Strasbourg

1989 B.S. Pure and Applied Geology, University of Paris-Sud, Orsay

1990 M.S. Pure and Applied Geology, University of Paris-Sud, Orsay

1991 DEA Geodynamics and Physics of the Earth, University of Paris-Sud/Ecole Normale Supérieure/Pierre and Marie Curie University

1994 Ph.D.: Structural aspects of the Tharsis magmatic-tectonic complex on Mars (under the guidance of Prof. Philippe Masson), Univ. Paris-Sud, Orsay

1992 – 1994 Instructor, Univ. VersaillesSt-Quentin-en-Yvelines


Professional experience

2011 - now Invited Professor, Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences

2004 - 2011 Associate Professor, University of Nantes

1997 – 2004 Associate Professor, Pierre and Marie Curie University

December 2001 Habilitation: Comparative Studies and Contribution of Terrestrial Planets to the Understanding of the Deformation of Large Igneous Provinces (under the guidance of Prof. Jacques Angelier)

1996 – 1997 ATER, Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand

1995 – 1996 Postdoc: Institut für Planetenerkundung, DLR Berlin (Singer-Polignac Foundation scholarship), Geomechanics—Rock Fracture Group, University of Nevada, Reno (SSAS scholarship)

1994 – 1996 Data Manager, NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility, Orsay


PhD and postdoc supervision


Timur Borikov, Mechanics and kinematics of landslide propagation on Earth and Mars (supervised with Anne Mangeney, IPGP, 2012-2015)
Krzysztof Dębniak, A geological synthesis of Valles Marineris (2012-2015)

Magdalena Makowska, Mechanics and kinematics of deep-seated gravitational slope deformation on Earth and Mars (supervised with Frédéric Gueydan, Géosciences Montpellier, 2012-2015)

Marta Skiścim, Nanoscopic characterisation of basalts altered in different environments (supervised with Joanna Gurgurewicz, Polish Academy of Science, 2012-2015)

Olga Kromuszczynska, Structural geology and geomorphology of Valles Marineris, Mars (supervised with Andrzej Zelazniewicz and Joanna Gurgurewicz, Polish Academy of Science, 2010-2015)

Antoine Lucas, Modelling of Martian landslides using granular flow physics (supervised with Anne Mangeney, IPGP, 2006-2010)

Laetitia Le Deit, Geology and mineralogy of Valles Marineris, Mars (2005-2008)


Marta Kubiak, Thermal infrared modelling of the Martian surface (2013-2015)

Luigi Castaldo, SHARAD data processing and simulation (2013-2015)

Marion Massé, Glacial processes and landforms (2012-2013)

Antoine Séjourné
, Periglacial processes and landforms (2012-2013)

Joanna Gurgurewicz, Alteration of Martian basalts and implications for the evolution of Martian climate: study of terrestrial analogs (2009)

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