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Jani Radebaugh

Professor - Undergraduate Coordinator

Office: S-383 ESC

Meet Professor Jani Radebaugh

Research Interests

As a planetary scientist I work on Earth and other planets throughout the solar system. My research focuses Saturn's moon Titan, Jupiter's moon Io, Pluto, Mars and the Moon.

The Cassini spacecraft completed its mission at the Saturn system in 2017 and discovered many fundamental, new things about its largest moon TIitan. As an Associate Team Member of the Cassini Radar Science Team, I continue to work with scientists to understand the surface processes on Titan that form such features as dunes, mountains, lakes, rivers, and cryovolcanoes.

The Dragonfly mission is the next New Frontiers mission selected by NASA, a quadcopter-like rotorcraft lander for the surface of Titan! It will land in the dune regions and traverse to an impact crater, analyzing the materials and landscapes along the way. I am a Science Team member and am so excited to spend the next few decades on this mission.

Io is the most volcanically active world in the solar system. The Io Volcano Observer (IVO) proposal was a Discovery mission finalist, and I am on the science team. My students and I study active volcanoes on Io, specifically the distribution and thermal output of volcanic eruptions from Galileo and Cassini images. We also study the formation and distribution of Io's surface features, such as paterae (volcano-tectonic depressions), hotspots, and tectonic features.

The New Horizons mission explored Pluto in 2015 and revealed a diverse and active surface. With the New Horizons team, we discovered dunes of methane sand on the nitrogen ice glacier, evidence that wind blows on Pluto.

To better understand all of these solar system geological features, my research group travels to unique locations on the Earth that serve as analogues for other planets. We have studied megadunes in the Sahara, Arabia, and Namibia and lava lakes and lava flows in Hawaii, Ethiopia, and Vanuatu.

Pictures from our field studies can be found at:

Students in the desert doing research


  • Geology 101: Introductory Geology
  • Geology 109: Geology of the Solar System - including BYU Online version
  • Physical Science 100: Intro Science for nonmajors
  • Geology 410: Geology Field Camp
  • Geology 411: Geomorphology
  • Geology 440: Geophysics
  • Geology 490R/590R: Planetary Geology Seminar
  • Geology 490R/590R: Hamblin Global Geology Field Studies
  • Geology 601: Planet Earth


I am a science expert featured on the Science Channel's "How the Universe Works" series and I have also been in the Science Channel's NASA's Unexplained Files and on the BBC's Nova series.

I am a regular presenter at the Spacefest convention, which features astronauts, including Apollo astronauts.

Several outreach media pieces I have been involved with are below.

Stunning images of Iceland volcano captured by BYU geology professor
A Thing of Beauty- Jani Radebaugh Explores Space Sands and NASA’s Dragonfly Mission to Titan.mp4
Exploration for Discovery | Jani Radebaugh | TEDxBYU.mp4
BYU Research on Titan, Saturn's Moon .mp4
Our Sacred Stewardship.mp4


  • Slezak, T.J., J. Radebaugh, E.H Christiansen and M. Belk. Classification of Planetary Craters using Outline-based Morphometrics. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 407, 107102.
  • Wood, C.A. and J. Radebaugh 2020. Morphologic evidence for volcanic craters near Titan’s north polar region. Journal of Geological Sciences – Planets,
  • Solomonidou, A., A. Le Gall, M.J. Malaska, S.P.D. Birch, R.M.C. Lopes, A. Coustenis, S. Rodriguez, S.D. Wall, R.J. Michaelides, M.R. Nasr, C. Elachi, A.G. Hayes, J.M. Soderblom, A.M. Schoenfeld, C. Matsoukas, P. Drossart, M.A. Janssen, K.J. Lawrence, O. Witasse, J. Yates and J. Radebaugh 2019. Spectral and emissivity analysis of the raised ramparts around Titan’s northern lakes. Icarus.
  • Lopes, R.M.C.,  S. Wall, C. Elachi, S. Birch, P. Corlies, A. Coustenis, A. Hayes, J. Hofgartner, M. Janssen, R. Kirk, A. LeGall, R. Lorenz, J. Lunine, M. Malaska, M. Mastroguiseppe, G. Mitri, K. Neish, C. Notarnicola, F. Paganelli, P. Paillou, V. Poggiali, J. Radebaugh, S. Rodriguez, A. Schoenfeld, J. Soderblom, A. Solomonidou, E. Stofan, B. Stiles, F. Tosi, E. Turtle, R. West, C. Wood, H. Zebker, J. Barnes, D. Casarano, P.Encrenaz, T. Farr, C. Grima, D. Hemingway, O. Karatekin, A. Lucas, K. Mitchell, G. Ori, R. Orosei, P. Ries, D. Riccio, L. Soderblom, Z. Zhang 2019. Titan as Revealed by the Cassini RADAR. Space Science Reviews 215, p.33.
  • Telfer, M.W., J. Radebaugh, B. Cornford and C. Lewis 2019. Long Wavelength Sinuosity on Linear Dunes on Earth and Titan, and Implications for Topography. Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets.
  • Lopes, R.M.C., T.K.P. Gregg, A. Harris, J. Radebaugh, P. Byrne and L. Kerber 2018. Extraterrestrial Lava Lakes. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.
  • Rodriguez, S., S. Le Mouélic, J.W. Barnes, J.F. Kok, S.C.R. Rafkin, R.D. Lorenz, B. Charnay, J. Radebaugh, C. Narteau, T. Cornet, O. Bourgeois, A. Lucas, P. Rannou, C.A. Griffith, A. Coustenis, T. Appéré, M. Hirtzig, C. Sotin, J.M. Soderblom, R.H. Brown, J. Bow, G. Vixie, L. Maltagliati, S. Courrech du Pont, R. Jaumann, K. Stephan, K.H. Baines, B.J. Buratti, R.N. Clark, P.D. Nicholson 2018. Observational evidence for active dust storms on Titan at equinox. Nature Geoscience,
  • Telfer, M.W., E.J.R. Parteli, J. Radebaugh, R.A. Beyer, T. Bertrand, F. Forget, F. Nimmo, W.M. Grundy, J.M. Moore, S.A. Stern, J. Spencer, T.R. Lauer, A.M. Earler, R.P. Binzel, H.A. Weaver, C.B. Olkin, L.A. Young, K. Ennico, K. Runyon and The New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Science Theme Team 2018. Dunes on Pluto. Science 360, 992-997.
  • Brossier, J.F., S. Rodriguez,  T. Cornet, A. Lucas, J. Radebaugh, L. Maltagliati, S. Le Mouélic, A.  Solomonidou, A. Coustenis, M. Hirtzig, and R. Jaumann 2018. Geological Evolution of Titan's Equatorial Regions: Possible Nature and Origin of the Dune Material. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.
  • Solomonidou, A., A. Coustenis, R. M. C. Lopes, M. J. Malaska, S. Rodriguez, P. Drossart, C. Elachi,, B. Schmitt, S. Philippe, M. Janssen, M. Hirtzig, S. Wall, C. Sotin, K. Lawrence, N. Altobelli, E. Bratsolis, J. Radebaugh, K. Stephan, R. H. Brown, S. Le Mouélic, A. Le Gall, E. V. Villanueva, J. F. Brossier, A. A. Bloom, O. Witasse, C. Matsoukas, A. Schoenfeld 2018. The Spectral Nature of Titan's Major Geomorphological Units: Constraints on Surface Composition. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 123, 489-507.
  • Matson, D.L., A.G. Davies, T.V. Johnson, J-P Combe, T.B. McCord, J. Radebaugh, S. Singh 2017. Enceladus’ near-surface CO2 gas pockets and surface frost deposits. Icarus 302, 18-26.
  • Ahern, A.A., J. Radebaugh, E.H Christiansen, S. Tass and R. Harris 2017. Lineations and Structural Mapping of Io’s Paterae and Mountains: Implications for Internal Stresses. Icarus 297, 14-32.
  • Diniega, S., M. Kreslavsky, J. Radebaugh, S. Silvestro, M. Telfer and D. Tirsch 2017. Our evolving understanding of aeolian bedforms, based on observation of dunes on different worlds. Aeolian Research 26, 5-27.
  • Lorenz, R.D. and J. Radebaugh 2016. Dust Devils in thin air: Vortex observations at a high elevation Mars analog site in the Argentinean Puna. Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1002/2015GL067412.
  • Radebaugh, J., R.M. Lopes, R.D. Howell, R.D. Lorenz and E.P. Turtle 2016. Eruptive behavior of the Marum/Mbwelesu lava lake, Vanuatu and comparisons with lava lakes on Earth and Io. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 322, 105-113.
  • Turtle, E.P., R.M.C. Lopes, R.D. Lorenz, J. Radebaugh and R.R. Howell 2016. Temporal Behavior and Temperatures of Yasur Volcano, Vanuatu from field remote sensing observations, May 2014. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 322, 158-167.
  • Lorenz, R.D., E.P. Turtle, R. Howell, J. Radebaugh and R.M.C. Lopes 2016. The Roar of Yasur: Handheld audio recorder monitoring of Vanuatu volcanic vent activity. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 322, 168-174.
  • Lorenz, R.D. and J. Radebaugh 2016. To Titan, via Namibia. Communications of the Geological Survey of Namibia, 17, 1-15.
  • Birch, S.P.D., A.G. Hayes, A.D. Howard, J.M. Moore and J. Radebaugh 2016. Alluvial Fan Morphology, Distribution and Formation on Titan. Icarus 270, 238-247.
  • Liu, Z.Y.-C., J. Radebaugh, R.A. Harris, E.H Christiansen and S. Rupper 2016. Role of Fluids in the tectonic evolution of Titan. Icarus 270, 2-13.
  • Liu, Z. Y-C., J. Radebaugh, R.A. Harris, E.H Christiansen, C.D. Neish, R.L. Kirk, R.D. Lorenz and the Cassini RADAR Team 2016. The tectonics of Titan: Global structural mapping from Cassini RADAR. Icarus 270, 14-29.
  • Radebaugh, J., D. Ventra, R.D. Lorenz, T. Farr, R. Kirk, A. Hayes, M.J. Malaska, S. Birch, Z. Y-C. Liu, J. Lunine, J. Barnes, A. Le Gall, R. Lopes, E. Stofan, S. Wall and P. Paillou 2016. Alluvial and fluvial fans on Saturn’s moon Titan reveal processes, materials and regional geology. In, Ventra, D. & Clarke, L. E. (eds) Geology and Geomorphology of Alluvial and Fluvial Fans: Terrestrial and Planetary Perspectives. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 440,
  • Liu, Z. Y-C., J. Radebaugh, E.H Christiansen, C.D. Neish, R.A. Harris, R.L. Kirk, R.D. Lorenz and the Cassini RADAR Team 2015. The tectonics of Titan: global structural mapping from Cassini RADAR. Icarus, in press.
  • Liu, Z.Y.-C., J. Radebaugh, R.A. Harris, E.H Christiansen. Role of Fluids in the Tectonic Evolution of Titan. Icarus, accepted.
  • Paillou, P., B. Seignovert, J. Radebaugh, S. Wall 2015. Radar scattering of linear dunes and mega-yardangs: Application to Titan. Icarus, in press.
  • Carling, G., J. Radebaugh, T. Saito, R.D. Lorenz, A. Dangerfield, D.G. Tingey, J.D. Keith, J.V. South, R.M. Lopes and S. Diniega 2015. Temperatures, thermal structure and behavior of eruptions at Kilauea and Erta Ale volcanoes using a consumer digital camcorder. GeoResJ 5, 47-56, doi:10.1016/j.grj.2015.01.001.
  • Barnes, J.W., R.D. Lorenz, J. Radebaugh, A.G. Hayes, K. Arnold, C. Chandler 2015. Production and global transport of Titan's sand particles. Planetary Science 4, 1-19.
  • Veeder, G.J., A.G. Davies, D.L. Matson, T.V. Johnson, D.A. Williams and J. Radebaugh 2015. Io: Heat flow from small volcanic features. Icarus 245, 379-410.
  • Savage, C. J., J. Radebaugh, E. H Christiansen and R. D. Lorenz 2014. Implications of dune pattern analysis for Titan’s surface history. Icarus 230, 180-190.
  • Hofgartner, J.D., A.G. Hayes, J.I. Lunine, H. Zebker, B.W. Stiles, C. Sotin, J.W. Barnes, E.P. Turtle, K.H. Baines, R.H. Brown, B.J.Bruatti, R.N. Clark, P. Encrenaz, R.D. Kirk, A. Le Gall, R.M. Lopes, R.D. Lorenz, M.J. Malaska, K.L. Mitchell, P.D. Nicholson, P. Paillou, J. Radebaugh, S.D. Wall and C. Wood 2014. Transient features in a Titan sea. Nature Geoscience, DOI:10.1038/NGEO2190.
  • Rodriguez, S., A. Garcia, A. Lucas, T. Appéré, A. Le Gall, E. Reffet, L. Le Corre, S. Le Mouélic, T. Cornet, S. Courrech du Pont, C. Narteau, O. Bourgeois, J. Radebaugh, K. Arnold, J.W. Barnes, C. Sotin, R.H. Brown, R.D. Lorenz, E.P. Turtle 2014. Global mapping and characterization of Titan’s dune fields with Cassini: correlation between RADAR and VIMS observations. Icarus 230, 168-179.
  • Paillou, Ph., D. Bernard, J. Radebaugh, R. Lorenz, A. Le Gall, T. Farr 2014. Modeling the SAR backscatter of linear dunes on Earth and Titan. Icarus 230, 208-214.
  • Radebaugh, J 2013. Dunes on Saturn’s moon Titan at the end of the Cassini Equinox Mission. Aeolian Research 11, 23-41.
  • Lorenz, R.D., N. Gasmi, J. Radebaugh, J.W. Barnes, and G.G. Ori 2013. Dunes on planet Tatooine: Observation of barchans migration at the Sar Wars film set in Tunisia. Geomorphology 201, 264-271.
  • Allen, D.A., J. Radebaugh and D. Stephens 2013. Temperature and variability of Pillan, Wayland Patera, and Loki Patera on Io from Cassini ISS data. Icarus 226, 77-88.
  • Barnes, J.W., L. Lemke, R. Foch, C.P. McKay, R.A. Beyer, J. Radebaugh and 25 others 2011. AVIATR – Aerial Vehicle for In-situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance, A Titan airplane mission concept. Experimental Astronomy, DOI10.1007/s10686-011-9275-9.
  • Williams, D.A., J. Radebaugh, R.M.C. Lopes and E. Stofan 2011. Geomorphologic mapping of the Menrva region of Titan using Cassini RADAR data. Icarus 212, 744-750.
  • Radebaugh, J., R.D. Lorenz, S.D. Wall, R.L. Kirk, C.A. Wood, J.I. Lunine, E.R. Stofan, R.M.C. Lopes, P. Valora, T.G. Farr, A.G. Hayes, B. Stiles, G. Mitri, H. Zebker, M. Janssen, L. Wye, A. Le Gall, K.L. Mitchell, F. Paganelli, R.D. West, E.L. Schaller and the Cassini Radar Team 2011. Regional geomorphology and history of Titan’s Xanadu province. Icarus 211, 672-685.
  • Radebaugh, J., R. Lorenz, T. Farr, P. Paillou, C. Savage, C. Spencer 2010. Linear dunes on Titan and Earth: Initial remote sensing comparisons. Geomorphology 121, 122-132, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.02.022.
  • Radebaugh, J. 2009. Titan’s sticky dunes? Nature Geoscience 2, 608-609, doi:10.1038/ngeo623.
  • Lorenz, R.D. and J. Radebaugh 2009. Global pattern of Titan's dunes: Radar survey from the Cassini prime mission. Geophysical Research Letters 36 , doi:10.1029/2008/GL036850.
  • Radebaugh, J., R. Lorenz, J. Lunine, S. Wall, G. Boubin, E. Reffet, R. Kirk, R. Lopes, E. Stofan, L. Soderblom, M. Allison, M. Janssen, P. Paillou, P. Callahan, C. Spencer and the Cassini Radar Team 2008. Dunes on Titan from Cassini Radar, Icarus 194, 690-703 , doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.10.1015.
  • Radebaugh, J., R. Lorenz, R. Kirk, J. Lunine, E. Stofan, R. Lopes, S. Wall, and the Cassini Radar Team 2007. Mountains on Titan from Cassini Radar. Icarus 192, 77-91 , doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.06.020.
  • Barnes, J., J. Radebaugh, R. H. Brown, S. Wall, L. Soderblom, J. Lunine, D. Burr, C. Sotin, S. Le Mouelic, S. Rodriguez, B. J. Buratti, R. Clark, K. H. Baines, R. Jaumann, P. D. Nicholson, R. L. Kirk, R. Lopes, R. Lorenz, K. Mitchell, and C. A. Wood 2007. Near-infrared spectral mapping of Titan’s mountains and channels.  J. Geophys. Res. 112, E11006, doi:10.1029/2007JE002932.
  • Lorenz, R., S. Wall, J. Radebaugh, G. Boubin, J. Lunine et al. 2006. The Sand Seas of Titan: Cassini RADAR Observations of Longitudinal Dunes, Science 312, 724-727.
  • Radebaugh, J., A. S. McEwen, M. Milazzo, L. P. Keszthelyi, A. G. Davies, E. P. Turtle, D. Dawson, 2004.Observations and Temperatures of Io's Pele Patera from Cassini and Galileo Spacecraft Images. Icarus 169, 65-79. 

Research Awards and Grants

  • 5/2020-21 NASA Habitable Worlds, Shannon MacKenzie PI, $2,000
    • Dune field work
  • 4/2020-21 NASA Spacegrant Higher Education Minigrant, $11,459
    • Sand on Titan and field analogues
  • 2/2020 BYU College FAST Grant (fostering mentoring environments), $24,050,
    • Carbon planet habitability and Tanzania
  • 9/2019-38 NASA Dragonfly New Frontiers mission team member, $1,789,706
    • A Rotorcraft lander for the surface of Titan, JHUAPL
  • 9/2018-22 NASA Mapping and Planetary Spatial Data Infrastructure, $192,297
    • Cooperative agreement, for efforts related to establishing a PSDI and Roadmap for PSDI to NASA,
  • 9/2018-21 NASA Solar System Workings program $232,166
    • Solar System Yardangs, Laura Kerber of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory as PI
  • 4/2017 NASA Space Grant Consortium Infrastructure, Winds on Planetary Surfaces from Dunes and Yardangs, $9,132
  • 6/2015 NASA Space Grant Consortium Fellowship, Formation of Paterae on Io, $3,000 to student Alex Ahern
  • 9/2014-17 NASA Outer Planets Research Program, $19,215 Co-I total
    • Regional Geologic Mapping of Titan, David Williams ASU PI
  • 6/2013 NASA Space Grant Consortium Fellowship, $3,000 to student Alex Ahern
    • Formation of Paterae on Io
  • 11/2012-13 BYU Mentored Environment Grant program, $19,900 total
    • A Tectonic Origin for Mountains on Saturn’s Moon Titan
  • 6/2012-15 NASA Outer Planets Research program, $335,322 total 3-year budget,
    • Winds, climate and organic inventory from dunes on Titan
  • 4/2012-13 BYU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences grant, $5,000 total,
    • Building a model for patera formation on Io
  • 9/2009-12 NASA Outer Planets Research program, $232,594 total 3-year budget,
    • Dunes on Titan: Dune properties, global winds, and climate
  • 1/2010-12 BYU Mentored Environment Grant program, $20,000 total
    • Surface features of Jupiter’s moon Io as an expression of subsurface processes
  • 6/2008-11 NASA Cassini Data Analysis program, $103,829 total 2-year budget
    • Temperatures and Eruption Styles of Io’s Volcanoes from Cassini Images
  • 2/2008-10 BYU Mentored Environment Grant program, $16,000 total,
    • Morphologies and evolution of dunes from Cassini Radar