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Joe McNeil

Profile summary

Professional biography


I am a second-year postgraduate student in the School of Physical Sciences, funded by the STFC and Open University.

My research aims to improve our knowledge of the geology of Oxia Planum, an ancient region of Mars that has been selected as the landing site for the 2022 ExoMars rover, 'Rosalind Franklin'. It is crucial to understand the geological history of the landing site so that the scientific analyses conducted by the rover can be placed in a geological context. My work involves utilising remote sensing data acquired by satellites orbiting around Mars to gain insight into the depositional and erosional processes that have sculpted the landscape around Oxia Planum over the last 4.5 billion years. I am currently investigating the geomorphologies and distributions of a population of mesas, hills and plateaus that are scattered within, and to the north of, the landing ellipse.

I am an active member of both the Planetary Environments Research Group (SPS) and the Palaeoenvironmental Change Research Group (EEES).

Prior to embarking on a PhD with the Open University, I completed an MSc by Research with the Southeast Asia Research Group at Royal Holloway, University of London, where I conducted a successful multi-proxy sedimentary provenance study into the Oligocene sediments of the Central Myanmar Basin. Before this, I completed a BSc in Geology at Royal Holloway.



McNeil, J., Balme, M.R., Fawdon, P., Coe, A.L.; (2021) “Morphology, morphometry and distribution of isolated landforms in southern Chryse Planitia, Mars”, Journal of Geophyiscal Research: Planets;

McNeil, J., Gough, A., Hall, R, Lünsdorf, N.K.; “A multi-proxy provenance study of Eocene to Oligocene sandstones in the Salin Sub-basin, Myanmar”, Journal of Asian Earth Science; in review

Webb, M., Gough, A., Vannucchi, P., Lünsdorf, N. K., McNeil, J.; (2021) “A switch from long distance Himalayan-derived to locally sourced provenance in the Plio-Pleistocene Nicobar Fan”, Marine and Petroleum Geology, Vol. 125 


Academic History:

PhD Student, The Open University | 2019 - present

MSc by Research (Earth Sciences), Royal Holloway, University of London | 2017 - 2018

BSc, Geology, Royal Holloway, University of London | 2014 - 2017

Research interests

Mars, martian stratigraphy, planetary geology, remote sensing, geomorphology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, sedimentary provenance.


Sedimentary provenance of the Plio-Pleistocene Nicobar Fan: Complex sourcing revealed through Raman spectroscopy heavy mineral analysis (2021-03)
Webb, Max; Gough, Amy; Vannucchi, Paola; Lünsdorf, Nils K. and McNeil, Joe
Marine and Petroleum Geology, 125, Article 104874