Frank Fueten

Professor and Chair, Earth Sciences

Office: Mackenzie Chown D429
905 688 5550 x3856

Structural geologist with interests in: deformation mechanisms, microstructures, petrographic image processing applications, Martian geology.

  • 2006–external participating Faculty, Brock University, Computer Sciences M.Sc. program
  • 2002–2005: Chair, Department of Earth Sciences, Brock University
  • 2002–present: Professor of Earth Sciences, Brock University
  • 2001–2005: Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Toronto
  • 1995–2002: Chair, Technical Services, Brock University
  • 1995–1999: Adjunct Associate Professor, McMaster University
  • 1993–2002: Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, Brock University
  • 1989–1993: Assistant Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Brock University
  • Ph.D. University of Toronto, 1990
  • M.Sc. McMaster University, 1985

Visiting Appointments

  • Invited Scientist, Universite de Nantes ( France) (July 2000)
  • Invited Scientist, Universite de Nantes ( France) (July, August 1998)


  • 1990–present, NSERC Discovery Grants
  • ERSC 1P94 Planetary Science (part)
  • ERSC 2P17 Earth Science Methods
  • ERSC 3P01 Structural Geology
  • ERSC 3P99 Field Camp-Solid Earth (part)
  • ERSC 4P01 Advanced Structural Geology

I am a structural geologist with an interest in the geological history of Valles Marineris, Mars.  This 4000km long and hundreds of km wide system of large, mostly linked chasms can provide up to 11 km of relief.  That makes it amongst the largest structural features in the solar system. Valles Marineris has been interpreted as an extensional feature and studies have compared its geometry to terrestrial grabens and continental rifts and more recently it has even been suggested that significant strike slip displacement took place.  Furthermore, Valles Marineris has been partially filled by enigmatic deposits which exhibit layering and which, because they occur inside the chasmata are referred to as Interior Layered Deposits (ILD).  These ILDs may be up to 8 kilometers high. Because ILDs are associated with sulfates signatures, their formation does require water, but it does not necessitate the existence of a standing body of water.  Hence their origin has been widely debated.

I am interested in a wide variety of topics related to the processes that led to the formation, infilling and subsequent erosion of this system.  My primary tools are to use imagery (HRSC, CTX, HiRISE) and combine these with DEMs (HRSC, HiRISE).  Using the software package ORION it is possible to obtain the attitude of planar features such as layering or fault planes to aid in structural interpretations.  The data and tool enable my students and myself to do simple structural geology on a different planet.

Publications related to Valles Marineris

Flahaut, J., Payet, V., Fueten, F., Guitreau, M., Barthez, M., Ito, G., & Allemand, P. (2023). New detections of feldspar-bearing volcanic rocks in the walls of Valles Marineris, Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 50, e2022GL100772.

Schmidt, G., Fueten, F., Stesky, R., Flahaut, J., & Hauber, E. (2018). Geology of Hebes Chasma, Mars: 1. Structure, stratigraphy, and mineralogy of the interior layered deposits. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123.

Fueten, F., Novakovic, N., Stesky, R., Flahaut, J., Hauber, E., & Rossi, A. P. (2017). The evolution of Juventae Chasma, Valles Marineris, Mars: Progressive collapse and sedimentation. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 122.

Brustel, C., J. Flahaut, E. Hauber, F. Fueten, C. Quantin, R. Stesky, and G. R. Davies. 2017, Valles Marineris tectonic and volcanic history inferred from dikes in eastern Coprates Chasma, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 122, doi:10.1002/2016JE005231.

Fueten, F., J. Flahaut, R. Stesky, E. Hauber, and A. P. Rossi, 2014, Stratigraphy and mineralogy of Candor Mensa, West Candor Chasma, Mars: Insights into the geologic history of Valles Marineris, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 119, doi:10.1002/2013JE004557.

Birnie C., Fueten, F., Stesky, R. Hauber, E., 2012, Underlying structural control of small-scale faults and fractures in West Candor Chasma, Mars. J. Geophys. Res., 117, E11001, doi:10.1029/2012JE004144.

Fueten, F., Flahaut, J., Le Deit, L.,Stesky, R.,Hauber E., and Gwinner, K., 2011, Interior layered deposits within a perched basin, southern Coprates Chasma, Mars: Evidence for their formation, alteration, and erosion, J. Geophys. Res., 116, E02003, doi:10.1029/2010JE003695.

Fueten, F., Racher H., Stesky R., MacKinnon P., Hauber E., McGuire P.C., Zegers T., Gwinner K., 2009. Structural analysis of interior layered deposits in Northern Coprates Chasma, Mars, Earth Planetary Science Letters (2009), doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2009.11.004

Fueten, F., R. Stesky, P. MacKinnon, E. Hauber, T. Zegers, K. Gwinner, F. Scholten, and G. Neukum. 2008, Stratigraphy and structure of interior layered deposits in west Candor Chasma, Mars, from High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) stereo imagery and derived elevations, J. Geophys. Res., 113, E10008, doi:10.1029/2007JE003053.


For an up-to-date list of research topics please check the Lunar and Planetary Institute website for abstracts presented at their annual conference. Enter my last name under author of abstract search.  If I’m second author and the first author is also from Brock University then that will be a project done by one of my graduate students.