Skip to main content

Michael A. Velbel

Professor Velbel (Ph.D., Yale University, 1984) studies regolith geoscience; rates and mechanisms of mineral-water interactions during rock and mineral weathering, emphasizing the geological, mineralogical, geochemical, and geomorphic factors which control mineral alterations at the Earth's surface and the migration of chemical elements through the landscape; and small-watershed geochemistry. Related areas of research include terrestrial weathering of Antarctic meteorites; rock-, mineral-, and chemical-weathering on Mars and in Martian meteorites; pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration on other meteorite parent bodies; and preservation of sample integrity for past and future sample-return missions. Prof. Velbel has held visiting appointments at the University of Cincinnati, the Université Paul Cézanne (Université d'Aix-Marseilles III), and the Australian National University.  He was a member of the Mineralogy-Petrology subteam of the NASA Stardust mission Preliminary Examination Team (2006). Prof. Velbel held NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowships at the Johnson Space Center in 1987 and 1999, and was a Smithsonian Senior Fellow at the Division of Meteorites, Department of Mineral Sciences, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution (2012-2013).


Stopar, J.D., Taylor, G.J., Velbel, M.A., Vicenzi, E.P., Norman, M.D., and Hallis, L.J., 2013.  Element abundances, patterns, and mobility in nakhlite Miller Range 03346 and implications for aqueous alteration.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 112, p. 208-225.

Price, J.R., Bryan-Ricketts, D.S., Anderson, D., and Velbel, M.A., 2013.  Weathering of almandine garnet: Influence of secondary minerals on the rate-determining step, and implications for regolith-scale Al mobilization.  Clays and Clay Minerals, v. 61, p. 34-56.  doi:10.1346/CCMN.2013.0610104.

Goetz, W., Hecht, M.H., Hviid, S.F., Madsen, M.B., Pike, W.T., Staufer, U., Velbel, M.A., Harrit, N.H., Zych, E., and Edgett, K.S., 2012.  Search for ultraviolet luminescence of soil particles at the Phoenix landing site, Mars.  Planetary and Space Science, v. 70, p. 134-147.

Velbel, M.A., 2012. Aqueous alteration in Martian meteorites: Comparing mineral relations in igneous-rock weathering of Martian meteorites and in the sedimentary cycle of Mars. In Grotzinger, J., and Milliken, R. (eds.) Sedimentary Geology of Mars, SEPM – Society for Sedimentary Geology Special Publication 102, p. 97-117.

Velbel, M.A., Tonui, E.K., and Zolensky, M.E., 2012. Replacement of olivine by serpentine in the carbonaceous chondrite Nogoya (CM2). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 87, p. 117-135.

Sanders, N.E., and Velbel, M.A., 2012. The size distributions of nanoscale Fe-Ni-S droplets in Stardust melted grains from comet 81P/Wild 2. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, v. 47, p. 594–612. doi: 10.1111/j.1945-5100.2012.01352.x.



Publications (PDF)