Dan Spencer

Dan Spencer


I am a DPhil student working on dynamic modelling of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io, under the supervision of Professor Richard Katz and Professor Ian Hewitt (maths).

My research aims to link interior models to observable surface features which can then be used to test these models. In the case of Io we have a wealth of data  on the thermal outputs of its many volcanoes. These volcanoes serve as windows into Io’s interior, and any interior model of Io should strive to explain our observations of these volcanoes.

My current focus is using two-phase fluid dynamics to model how tidal dissipation causes magma formation and movement inside Io. Incorporating a simple model for Io’s volcanoes then allows us to see how interior dynamics are likely to affect observable features of the volcanoes, which can then allow us to back out information on Io’s interior from current observations.

I am interested in a broad range of planetary geophysical and geochemical problems, in particular where new modelling techniques can be used to illuminate observational data.

For my Master’s I worked on constraining the thermal and orbital evolution of some of Saturn’s mid sized icy moons (in particular Rhea, Dione and Tethys).

Spencer, D. C., Katz, R. F., & Hewitt, I. J. (2020). Magmatic intrusions control Io’s crustal thickness. Journal of GeophysicalResearch: Planets,125, e2020JE006443.https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JE006443

Spencer, D.C., Katz, R. F., Hewitt, I. J., May, D. A., & Keszthelyi, L. (sub judice). Compositional layering in Io driven by magmatic segregation and volcanism. Submitted to JGR: Planets (arXiv link)