I am interested in the geological study of the solid bodies in our solar system, from the planet Mars to the asteroids and Earth, particularly from mineralogical and geochemical perspectives. I am interested in the mineralogy and geochemistry of the martian surface, and studying locations where remotely sensed data suggests that water-rock interactions occurred alluding to the presence of interesting surface processes and perhaps life. I am interested in the geological evolutionary history of our solar system, and how this history of changes can be constrained through the advancement of analytical techniques applied via remote sensing and laboratory experiments.  I find I’m drawn to research in the nexus of geology, physics, and engineering, and the field of planetary science frequents this cross-over space.


Remote sensing of the martian surface

I am interested in synthesizing remotely sensed data collected by orbital instruments to understand the geological evolution of the martian crust and constrain the potential for the planet to have supported life. I pursue this by using spacecraft observations from instruments such as the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) or the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) to constrain the geological context of outcrops bearing particular minerals that are of relevance to the potential habitability of environments.

Relevant publications and abstracts:

M. S. Bramble, J. F. Mustard, and M. R. Salvatore. 2017. The Geological History of Northeast Syrtis Major, Mars. Icarus 293, 66–93. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.03.030



Quantitative analytical techniques in the geological sciences

As with most of the physical sciences, the study of geology and planetary science requires the cutting edge of scientific instruments and applying these devices in novel methods to acquire data of the highest fidelity. I am interested continuing the development of applied instrumental techniques that increase the mathematical certainty in observations and perhaps lessens the degree of interpretation bias. The next step after quantitative measurement in my mind is to solidify the relationships interpreted from the data by modeling the data to show the degree of certainty that may be attached to interpretations.

Relevant publications and abstracts:

M. S. Bramble, R. L. Flemming, and P. J. A. McCausland. 2015. Grain size measurement from two-dimensional micro-X-ray diffraction: Laboratory application of a radial integration technique. American Mineralogist 100, 1899–1911. doi:10.2138/am-2015-5181

M. S. Bramble, R. L. Flemming, J. L. Hutter, M. M. Battler, G. R. Osinski, and N. R. Banerjee. 2014. A temperature-controlled sample stage for in situ micro-X-ray diffraction: Application to Mars analog mirabilite-bearing perennial cold spring precipitate mineralogy. American Mineralogist 99, 943-947. doi:10.2138/am.2014.4629

M. S. Bramble, R. L. Flemming, and P. J. A. McCausland. 2014. Grain Size, ‘Spotty’ XRD Rings, and CheMin: Two-Dimensional X-ray Diffraction as a Proxy for Grain Size Measurement in Planetary Materials. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference XLV, abstract No. 1658 (abstractposter)


Meteorites and early solar system processes

Meteorites provide a tangible way to study other planetary bodies and processes in the early solar system. Meteorites also allow for the study of astromaterials using the current level of laboratory technology providing data of higher resolution and fidelity than can be achieved by some spacecraft and remote sensing techniques. I am interested in studying processes in meteorites that can tell us about mineralogical interactions in the early solar system.

Relevant publications and abstracts:

P. J. A. McCausland, M. S. Bramble, P. G. Brown, J. U. Umoh, and D. W. Holdsworth. 2016. Many meteorites in one: Spatial scale and range of variation in bulk physical and lithological properties of the Tagish Lake C2 chondrite. GAC-MAC Annual Meeting, abstract No. 166 (abstract)

M. S. Bramble and J. F. Mustard. 2016. Investigating the Antarctic meteorite analog of carbonate formation on Mars. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference XLVII, abstract No. 2553 (abstract, poster)

M. S. Bramble, P. J. A. McCausland, R. L. Flemming, and M. R. M. Izawa. 2014. Micro-X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy investigation of enigmatic dun-coloured veins in the Tagish Lake carbonaceous chondrite. GAC-MAC Annual Meeting, abstract No. 263 (abstractposter)


Research in the media